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Emily Bergl

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Emily Bergl

Wed, 24 Apr 2013 16:04:00 +0000

Actress Emily Bergl attends the Broadway opening night of "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" at The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on October 13, 2010 in New York City.

The Poetry of Rock n' Roll: "The Queen Is Dead"

Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

In honor of National Poetry Month, each week I am featuring poetic lyrics of rock or pop songs.

This week, let's read the work of Steven Patrick Morrissey, songwriter and vocalist for the legendary British group The Smiths. Morrissey's lyrics have always naturally had a literary bent to them since his interests lie in the literary world. Marked by references to writers and poets as much as film and pop stars, Morrissey's lyrics often feature clever turns of phrase, black humor, and a deeply psychological confessional-style narrative.

Here is "The Queen Is Dead" from the 1986 album of the same name. I am deliberately not including the actual song in this post because I want the focus to be on the words.

The Queen Is Dead
by The Smiths

Through this land's cheerless marshes
Hemmed in like a boar between arches
Her very Lowness with her head in a sling
I'm truly sorry - but it sounds like a wonderful thing

I say Charles, don't you ever crave
To appear on the front of the Daily Mail
Dressed in your Mother's bridal veil ?

And so, I checked all the registered historical facts
And I was shocked into shame to discover
How I'm the 18th pale descendant
Of some old queen or other

Oh, has the world changed, or have I changed ?
Oh has the world changed, or have I changed ?
Some 9-year old tough who peddles drugs
I swear to God,
I swear : I never even knew what drugs were

So, I broke into the palace
With a sponge and a rusty spanner
She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
But when you're tied to your Mother's apron
No-one talks about castration

We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
Like love and law and poverty
Oh, these are the things that kill me

We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
But the rain that flattens my hair ...
Oh, these are the things that kill me

Past the Pub who saps your body
And the church who'll snatch your money
The Queen is dead, boys
And it's so lonely on a limb
Past the Pub that wrecks your body
And the church - all they want is your money
The Queen is dead, boys
And it's so lonely on a limb

Life is very long, when you're lonely…
There is no official website for The Smiths.

Currently listening to...

Wed, 24 Apr 2013 02:03:00 +0000

...the old-school House music sound of "Turn Me Out" by Russ Chimes. This is the kind of song I would have heard on the dance floor, back in my clubbing days, that would have sent me running to the DJ booth yelling, "WHAT IS THIS? I HAVE TO HAVE IT!"

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Congratulations, France!

Wed, 24 Apr 2013 00:36:00 +0000

Today, France became the world's fourteenth nation to approve marriage rights for same-sex couples. The lower house of the French Parliament passed the "marriage for all" law, sponsored by President Hollande, by a vote of 331 to 225. Although protests continue--even after the law has won--from the far right and the radical Christian agenda along with Jews and Muslims, this is certainly a time to celebrate.

Congratulations, France!

R.I.P. Chrissy Amphlett

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 18:55:00 +0000

We have lost one of the great voices of rock n' roll. Chrissy Amphlett, lead singer of the Australian band Divinyls has died at the all-too-young age of 53 from a three year battle with breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis.

The band's first release in 1983, "Desperate," featuring Amphlett on the cover in her iconic schoolgirl uniform and fishnet hose, ripped into the rock world. Her reedy, gravelly growl was immediately identifiable and gave the band an edge and a quality that demanded attention. Listen to "Elsie," the chilling, epic final track from "Desperate" in which Amphlett roars and rumbles (at the 3:26 mark).

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She never had an education
She uses life as her vocation
Standing on ledges, clinging to the edges
The world's a hard place to land on

She has this one way conversation

Trying to avoid a confrontation
Memories of the kind that she'd rather leave behind
The worlds' a hard place to land on

Life can be lonely

Life can be very sad
Life can be something you wish you'd never had

She never had any affection

So she relates well to rejection
No stories wait discovery
Dreams have passed recovery
Never had a chance from the beginning

She just sleeps all day

In her squalid little slum
And takes little white pills
To make her body feel all numb
And it's dark and dirty
And there's nothing left to eat
And in her heart there's a feeling of defeat
Smells of bugs and fornication
And a bottle of cheat scent
Should she stick around
If this is all that life meant

Life can be lonely

Life can be very sad
Life can be something you wish you'd never had

Open the door Wally, open the door Wally

Her New York Times obit:

BEAUTY: Photography--Paul Octavious

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

Not only did photographer and designer Paul Octavious photograph these whimsical flying cameras, he built them himself! He says, "I built Camera Birds from cameras handed down to me from my Grandpa and others that I've collected over the years. Sometimes I wish I could get really, really high off the ground to shoot a scene below. I know these guys will get the perfect shot."

Prints are available at his shop. Visit his site linked below.

BEAUTY: Photography--Matt Molloy

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

These colorful time-lapse clouds at sunset were created by Matt Molloy, who overlaps hundreds and hundreds of photos of a sunset to achieve this bewitching effect.

BEAUY: Installation--David Altmejd

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

The work of Canadian artist David Altmejd is very difficult to describe. His enigmatic pieces consist of large-scale installations that often involve the idea of a vitrine, or a glass display box. Such boxes are usually used in museum settings to display collections of mineral specimens, or perhaps taxidermied birds. With this sort of "cabinet of curiosities" approach, Altmejd uses natural materials in his installations, but these cabinets are puzzling, offering no logic to a coherent "collection" which is clearly not the point. The cases are often enormous and the objects in them are not... leaving lots of space. The objects can be composed of quartz, pyrite, amethyst, sand, resin, thread, metal wire, pins, needles, synthetic hair, glass eyes,chain, bronze, wood, pinecones, burlap, leather, and foam. It is this juxtaposition of natural, uncontrollable, living elements, placed haphazardly and sometimes with a sense of sweeping movement, against the sterilized plexiglass and mirrored plinths that generates a seeming clash of meaning. It suggests the unpredictability and messiness of life captured and frozen just as it is, in the midst of its drive, life force, heartbeat...Although some pieces can be small to medium sized like the modernist doll house of The Outside, The Inside and the Praying Mantis (fifth image down), some are staggeringly large like The Index, which he assembled in the Canadian Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Bienale (third image down--click for a larger view). It is obvious that the power of his work lies in experiencing it first hand. I would love to see one of his pieces...David Altmejd at the Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City:[...]

BEAUTY: Mixed Media--Haruki Ogawa

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

Japanese painter and mixed media artist Haruki Ogawa embeds paint and industrial materials in crystal-clear acrylic resin, creating arresting little cubes of texture.

Top to bottom: Conceptual Sculpture; Object #1; Object #5; Semi Object #2 (detail); Semi Object #2; Three Dimensional Drawing #1; Three Dimensional #2

Haruki Ogawa at Frantic Gallery:

Tilda at Las Pozas

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

For the May 2013 issue of W magazine, Tilda Swinton traveled to the legendary Mexican estate of Las Pozas to model couture by some of the most talented designers currently working. In 1945, the estate was created by Edward James (he was the American-British son of William James, heir to the 8,000 acre James family estate of West Dean House in Sussex, and an openly bisexual poet) more than 2,000 feet above sea level, in a subtropical rainforest in the mountains of Mexico just outside the town of Xilitla. James was a patron of surrealist art and artists which included Salvador Dali whom he supported for all of 1938! His surrealist art collection included pieces by Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Klee, Leonora Carrington, Pavel Tchelitchew, Pablo Picasso, Giacometti, and Max Ernst among others; James was painted not once but twice by René Magritte, and photographed by Man Ray! In this spirit, he created, on some 80 acres, a surrealist fantasy of strange structures up to four stories tall, turrets, steps/ ramps/ walkways and footbridges with fanciful curlicues, and buildings (with hidden rooms and staircases that go nowhere) with names like the House on Three Floors Which Will in Fact Have Five or Four or Six, the House with a Roof like a Whale, and the Staircase to Heaven. After James' death in 1984, the estate fell into ruins but in 2007, the Fondo Xilitla, a foundation that will oversee the preservation and restoration of the site, acquired the property. Thankfully, James' unique vision will continue to live.Also in this spirit of surreality, photographer extraordinaire Tim Walker (previously here) teamed up with stylist Jacob K and the lovely, ethereal, and talented Tilda Swinton to recreate several surrealist masterpieces in and around Las Pozas. I am sure James would approve.[...]

Happy Earth Day!

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 17:11:00 +0000


Mon, 22 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is "Blind."

by JEF

If I make this light,
clear the box while it’s green,
it will be a good day.

If I win this hand of solitaire,
my blood test will be negative.

I’ll live to be 82
like a Ouija board told me
when I was a child.

If there’s a rainbow after this storm,
my dad will pull through, heal, live.

If we don’t belong in the future,
the revelation will come not too late
but whenever it arrives.

We are all blind,
feeling our way,
groping for signs,
divining what we can.
We can’t see it all
coming at us.

This is what we do now.
We wait here
besieged by the future.
Let it come.

Let it come.

©JEF 2013

BEAUTY: Art--Susan Siegel

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 02:00:00 +0000

New York artist Susan Siegel knows how to get to my heart. Long time readers of "Oh, By The Way" will have deduced by now that I am a sucker for animals behaving and dressing as humans. I love fables, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and anything that shows an anthropomorphized view of creatures great and small. Siegel paints bucolic scenes of barnyard or farm animals, but in 18th century French country or court dress, à la Fragonard (she even has a cow on a swing!). In the 80s, there was a fantastic store in San Francisco called La Ville du Soleil which sold French housewares and objets, and every nook and corner of the store had life size mannequins with farm animal heads, all dressed like characters from a Mozart opera, just like a Siegel painting!

Her work reminds me of another artist I love, Sarah Higdon, previously here. Higdon's work is fairly clean, but I also love Siegel's very painterly, softly romantic, nearly Impressionistic style.

Top to bottom: Cow Swing; Family of Three; In Pink; Solitary Goat (Blue); untitled

More delightful images at her website:

BEAUTY: Art--Trevor Young

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 02:00:00 +0000

Trevor Young's ode to empty urban spaces is reminiscent of other artists like Edward Hopper and Ed Ruscha who have been hypnotized by the inexplicable lure of these void-like places. His minimalist-realist approach to portraying these spots adds to the blandness of each landscape...Top to bottom: Automated Convenience; Automatic Cut-Off; Beautiful Erection; Buttress 3; Caress; Claim Etiquette; Full Pump; Hire; Man In A BoxWatch Trevor Young explain "non-places" in this video interview... I think I have a new art crush: that hair, those sideburns, that smile, those eyes... that stubble! *swoon* allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="" width="640">[...]

BEAUTY: Art--Aaron Smith

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 02:00:00 +0000

I can't believe I have never posted anything about Aaron Smith or his art... until now. He is all over the blogosphere for reasons other than his art (his tattoos, his nostalgic waxed moustache, his general masculine woofiness), but it is his images of Victorian and Edwardian gentlemen rendered in glorious, glowing gobs of paint, thickly applied with a palette knife thus looking more like cake frosting, that interest us here...Top to bottom: 2 Beards (Czar Nicholas II and George V); Buck; Ginger; Kicker (Roger Casement); Left Handed Likely; Shirkster (Prince Albert Victor); Zhooshy (Prince Albert Victor)And here is the man himself, along with his sexy tats and stache...down boys, he has a husband.[...]

Sigur Ros LIVE!

Fri, 19 Apr 2013 04:42:00 +0000

Last night, April 17, 2013, I finally got to see my beloved Sigur Ros in person! When they have rolled through Northern California in the past, the timing has never been right for me to see them, but the stars aligned this time, and their appearance at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco was, for me, a highly emotional spectacle. Seen from absolutely perfect seats, I must add...I couldn't have asked for a better vantage point. They opened the show behind a scrim, on which was projected what looked like dark moving clouds...and a backlit Jónsi was seen intently bent over his guitar sawing away with his cello bow. But the scrim dropped during the next number to reveal a massive, panoramic projector screen which was alternately raised above the band and lowered to stage level, depending on the mood and lighting effects for each song. The film and graphics projected on the screen for each song included shots and clips from that song's accompanying video, if one was created. So, for "Sæglópur," for instance, we were presented with images of the young boy swimming underwater from the official video, seen here. In each instance though, the video was not shown in its entirety, but used as a way to evoke, and was mixed with sparks, clouds, rippling water, swirling galaxies, shooting stars, smoke, glittering dust motes, or other textural elements. Some songs that did not have an accompanying video were surprisingly even more beautiful: once, on a jagged, rocky landscape, tiny figures of people appeared, holding flashing beacons, but halfway through the song, the beacons rose up, floating over us in a moment of gentle emotional release, suggesting the possible release of the soul. Strategically placed small golden lights on rods were scattered across the stage which, when illuminated, resembled twinkling fireflies or a sea of pulsing, glowing orbs. Special lights--sometimes emitting blinding flashes--aimed out at the audience added to the crescendos, and silhouetted the band along with the string and horn sections.I must confess to a goose bump moment when I heard Jónsi start to sing the first song of the evening... I had to remind myself that I was actually hearing, in person, that voice that has the quality of a universal angel of compassion. His voice and phrasing are a brilliant counterpart to the often expansive, grand, shaking and shattering sound Sigur Ros can produce... a cosmic, transcendent sound that invokes at once creation and destruction. It was a marvel to experience these crescendos first hand, to hear them go on for five minutes or more, and just when one thinks the song is going to end, the crescendo gets ratcheted up so the crescendo gets a crescendo. Simply awe-inspiring.They played all my favorite songs, like "Glósóli" and track one from their "( )" release. They even performed "Brennisteinn" as well as "Kveikur" (in English: "Quaker") from their forthcoming release of the same name. But most importantly, I got to hear the heart-stopping "Svefn-g-englar" or "Sleepwalkers" in English. This song was the first Sigur Ros composition I ever heard, more than a decade ago and it occupies a very special place in my heart. And for the gentle, lulling "Tjú" refrain (in Icelandic, the word "Tjú" is a comforting sound one makes to a baby), I was fascinated to watch Jónsi perform a little sonic trick: he raised his guitar and sang into it so the electric feed picked it up and brought it to the speakers sounding muffled and far away. Watch him do this in the video below (enlarge to full screen)... and notice the pulsing, glowing lights... allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowf[...]

Poem In Your Pocket Day

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

April is National Poetry Month and today, April 18th, 2013 is Poem In Your Pocket Day. According to the Academy of American Poets, "The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends. You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Create your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event using ideas below or let us know your plans, projects, and suggestions for Poem in Your Pocket Day by emailing

Along with your library, bookstore, or shelf at home, you can find the perfect poem for your pocket by browsing, or by signing up to receive a poem from new spring poetry titles each day during April."


In honor of Poem In Your Pocket Day during National Poetry Month, here is the poem I will be carrying in my pocket today. I chose something short for practical reasons; it is a two-line poem called "Evening Chess" by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic. Simply amazing how two lines can tell such a complicated, loaded story:

Evening Chess
by Charles Simic

The Black Queen raised high
In my father's angry hand.

The Poetry of Rock n' Roll: Rickie Lee Jones

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

In honor of National Poetry Month, each week I am featuring poetic lyrics of rock or pop songs.And is there any artist who exemplifies a poetic sense in their work more than Rickie Lee Jones? She has written a mountain of majestic, awe-inspiring lyrics (and prose!) over the course of her (thankfully) long career. I had a hard time choosing one poem (song) to present, so I give you three. I am deliberately not including the actual songs in this post because I want the focus to be on the words.Gravityby Rickie Lee Jones There are wounds that stir up the force of gravityA cold that will wipe the hope from your eyesYoung girl standing underneath the "L" trainStanding there, watching the trains go by ...You think that nobody knows where you are, girlYou think that nobody knows how this feelsAlone, in a world of your ownThere you are girlThe small things floatTo the top of gravityGravityI'm telling you where it isGravity We walk in easy snakesThrough the roulette rattling of the ethylAnd now the arson smell of moonPolishes a newsstandThey empty the gas canThey watch the fireIf there are three girls runningThere are three girls running nowhereFrom remediesThat you call randomWe call by nameAnd ask them to explain why Oh, no I heard somebodyHush upDon't say nothingI thought I heard someoneWell we walk when we want to goNobody's gonna be thereSeen somebody, somebodyBe quietNobody's there ...Nobody I could not say no to the light of my desireI'm not asking so muchBut you roll-call the passionHis lips ?NoHis back ?NoHis face?No, no, noI'm not asking so much!I try to imagine another planet, another sunWhere I don't look like meAnd everything I do mattersWhere you are, girlIn your green paintWith a pin to pullAt the fingertips of gravityGravityI'm telling you where it isGravity -------------------------------------------------------------------------We Belong Togetherby Rickie Lee Jones I say this was no game of chickenYou were aiming your best friendThat you wear like a switchblade on a chain around your neckI think you picked this up in Mexico from your dadNow it's daddy on the boozeAnd Brando on the iceNow it's Dean in the doorwayWith one more way he can't play this scene twiceSo you drug her down every drag of this forbidden fit of loveAnd you told her to stand tall when you kissed herBut that's not where you were thinking...How could a Natalie Wood not get sucked into a scene so custom tucked?But now look who shows upIn the same placeIn this caseI think it's betterTo face it ---We belong togetherWe belong together Once Johnny the King made a spit ringAnd all the skid kids saw a very, very proud manAnd he entwine her in his fingerAnd she lay there like a baby in his handClimb upon the rooftop docks lookin' out on the crosstown seasAnd he wraps his jacket across her shouldersAnd he falls and hugs and holds her on his kneesBut a sailor just takes a broad down to the dark end of the fairTo turn her into a tattooThat will whisper into the back of Johnny's black hairAnd now Johnny the King walks these streets without her in the rainLookin' for a leather jacketAnd a girl who wrote her name foreverA promise that ---We belong togetherWe belong together Shall we weigh along these streetsYoung lions on the lam?Are the signs you hid deep in your heartAll left on neon for them?Who are foolishWho are victimOf the sailors and the ducky boys who wouldMove into your eyes and lips and every tearThat falls down on the neighborhood nowI said "Bird, we just gotta tell them"And they turn and ignore usAnd the only heroes we got leftAre written right before usAnd the on[...]

Be gentle with yourself...

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

“When it comes to being gentle, start with yourself. Don’t get upset with your imperfections. Being disappointed by failure is understandable, but it shouldn’t turn into bitterness or spite directed at yourself. It’s a great mistake——because it leads nowhere—to get angry because you are angry, upset at being upset, disappointed because you are disappointed.”
--St. Frances de Sales

The good outnumber the bad...

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 18:35:00 +0000

Thank you, Patton, for saying this.

With your back to the camera...

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 18:19:00 +0000

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Kind of fits my mood today...

For a list of all the films, go to the Plot Point Productions Vimeo link below.

Congratulations, Sharon!

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 05:05:00 +0000

Photograph by Marcus Mam, September 2012

On of my favorite poets, Sharon Olds, has won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her most recent book, "Stag's Leap," a book of poems about her divorce more than a decade ago.

Congratulations, Sharon... or rather I should say "the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds."


Mon, 15 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is "Surus."

by JEF

What is this cold and what is this white
that numbs my feet, he thinks.
He doesn’t belong here, far from grass, leaves, trees.
He watches his friends stumble on boulders and
fall to their knees while snarling humans
poke them with spears, furious humans
shriek into their earflaps to make them get up, move.
Our hide is thick, he thinks, but not enough to resist
these blades, as the blood of his kin stains
the white ground. Why are they doing this to us, he wonders.
Forced toward other human tribes who rush
to hack off the trunks of his mother, father,
he is pierced with a spear: he must leave them behind.
His family watch him driven on, fade away white.
He mourns.
I am the only one of my kind left in the world,
he thinks, and this tiny fool drapes me in red,
stands on a platform on my back,
his manic shouts ricocheting off sharp peaks of ice.

*Surus was the last surviving elephant, out of the 37 elephants Hannibal took with him when he crossed the Alps in 218 B.C.E.

©JEF 2013