Artist of the Month: Wilhelm Lehmbruck

September 2018: Wilhelm Lehmbruck

Born January 4, 1881 in Duisbur, Germany

Died: March 25, 1919 in Berlin, Germany

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Wilhelm Lehmbruck was a German sculptor, printmaker, and painter who is best known for his nude sculptures. He studied in Düsseldorf and moved to Paris where his sculpting flourished. When World War I started, he returned to Germany and worked in a military hospital taking care of wounded and dying soldiers. Despite being elected to the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1919, he committed suicide on March 25th. The majority of his works today is housed at the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, Germany. In addition, they can be found at the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), Städel Museum (Frankfurt), and the Tate Gallery (London).

weiblichertorso
Weiblicher Torso (Torso der Großen Stehenden) (1910) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
dergesturzle
Der Gestürzte (1915/16) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Emporsteigender Jüngling (1913) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
fritzvonunruh
Porträtkopf Fritz von Unruh (1918) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Male Nude Model at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1912) Metropolitan Museum of Art [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Wilhelm Lehmbruck, 1911, Femme á genoux (The Kneeling One), cast stone, 176 x 138 x 70 cm (69.2 x 54.5 x 27.5 in), Armory Show postcard

schlaf
Schlaf (1907) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. (selbst fotografiert)) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
kniende
Kniende (1911) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
grobesinnende
Große Sinnende (1913) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
kniendeb
Kniende (c. 1911 – Bronze) Spazzo [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
stehende weiblichefigur.jpg Stehende weibliche Figur (1910) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. (selbst fotografiert)) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de

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Movie Review: Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Quote from Smokey and the Bandit by Cledus Snow: “Hey, we really ought to pay somebody for the mess we made.”

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Hail to Reynolds and Needham

When Burt Reynolds died, I hadn’t seen many of his movies.  I had seen five of his movies (Deliverance, The Dukes of Hazzard, Without a Paddle, Striptease, Boogie Nights, and six if you count his voice in All Dogs Go to Heaven).  Now, I can say seven because I watched Smokey and the Bandit.  This movie was not only a Hollywood success for Hollywood itself, but for the writer and director, Hal Needham.  He left behind a legacy (appearing in 4,500 TV episodes and 310 movies) and is still regarded as one of the highest paid stuntmen/stunt doubles.  The movie was the second highest grossing movie in that year, behind Star Wars: Episode IV.

Git in the Damn Car and Shut Up

Smokey and the Bandit is a movie whose story and direction was under Hal Needham.  Known for his stunt work in movies and television spanning 30+ years, he sought the help with his story idea from Robert L. Levy and hired James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer, and Alan Mandel to write to screenplay.  The story centers around two friends, Bo Darville (Bandit) and Cledus Snow (Snowman), who are willing to risk their freedom for a large payout to carry Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia.  Everything goes smooth on the ride from Georgia, but coming back is a different story.  Watch out for the big bad Smokey.  The movie stars Burt Reynolds as Bo Darville (Bandit), Jerry Reed as Cledus Snow (Snowman), Sally Field as Carrie (Frog), Jackie Gleason as Sherrif Buford T. Justice (Smokey), Pat McCormick as Big Enos Burdette, Paul Williams as Little Enos Burdette, and Mike Henry as Junior Justice.  It is a Universal and Rastar Pictures Production.  It had the release date of May 27, 1977.  The rating is PG for language, violence, smoking, and some sexual references.  It has a running time of 96 minutes.  There are a few spoilers in this review so you have been warned.

A Few Cowboy and Trucker Hats on the Long Road Trip

There’s nothing like seeing a man with a cowboy hat snoozing in a gaudy looking hammock at an Atlantic fairgrounds and then being woken up by a tall Texan man and his short Texan son in equally gaudy outfits, but this is how Smokey and the Bandit begins.  The question is will Bandit be up to the challenge: driving 400 cases of Coors beer back from Texas so the Enos’ can celebrate after they win the truck rodeo.  Never mind the Enos’ are that confident with themselves.  The real issue is the 28 hour time constraint and whether it will be successfully accomplished by Bandit and his trusty friend, Snowman, who seems a little too attached to his blood-shot eyed basset hound. 

As one would expect, Bandit flies down Southern roads with a purpose with Snowman effectively driving the truck behind him.  He reaches Texas with little trouble and they load up the truck with ease.  But what good is it to hire an actor solely for his distinctive speech and laugh such as Burt Reynolds?  Enter Sally Field, as Carrie, who is the first nemesis to Smokey and his son, wannabe Smokey Jr.  She comes complete with a wedding dress and no cake when she hops into Bandit’s car and away they go at high speeds back to Georgia.

The chase continues and here is where you see the core of why this movie was made.  In front of the humor and hijinks, the stunts are what you watch: high-speed chases, driving through crowds, trucks ‘dancing’ with each other in close proximity, cars jumping bridges, cars landing on flat beds, etc as we watch them cross each state line.  Texas?  Check.  Alabama?  Check.  Mississippi?  Check.   Arkansas?  Check.  Georgia?  Not looking so hot.  Yet, Bandit and Snowman were given a job to do and even though it’s illegal, it’s do or be put behind bars for a long time time.  Good thing for persistence and equally good that the Enos’ probably own more cars than both sets of teeth combined.  What’s better than for Bandit, Cledus, and now Frog to gain even more reward for all their work?  The answer is simple: another chase across states lines.  Boston?  Here we come.

Over the Top, but Under the Roof

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Here is where I might get the backlash from readers of this and viewers of the movie.  I have no clue what the original dialogue was supposed to be for Smokey.  I would like to think it was somewhere in between the slapstick comedy of Gleason and maybe, some more serious lines of the script.  While I realize the movie is supposed to be a comedy first and foremost, the character of Smokey played off a little too much like a cartoon to me.  I understand the concept that Southern law men have a different way of ‘doing things’ and is always right when it comes to the law, but to me the interaction between the father and son seemed lopsided.  If Gleason didn’t ab lib and/or tone it down a notch during the emotional scenes (and by emotional I mean getting angry because that’s all he really did in terms of emotion) as much throughout the movie, I feel it would’ve been better.  Or, if the son wasn’t so terrified of his father and actually said a few lines that showed he had a backbone, it also would’ve ended on a better note for me.   Yet, I understand some actors you don’t direct and let them do their own thing. It goes without saying that Gleason is one of the best comedic actors from Hollywood back in the day, but its a given some of the dialogue used wouldn’t sit well with some people today.  Therefore, I found many of the words he used to make the scene further comedic falters by 2018 standards, but as a viewer I understand the decade in which it was made. 

The Road Continues On

I sometimes grapple with the concept of what is considered a good movie by today’s standards, but more important, what is acceptable.  You can’t be overly rigid because it restricts expression, but you also can’t go into thinking how you portray something doesn’t matter.  I find this a big slippery slope and currently I’m not sure where I fall on the mountain.  Would I recommend Smokey and the Bandit?  Yes, I would.  The thing to remember is this is an action movie when you compare it to 1970 standards.  There are plot holes in the script and certain things didn’t make sense to me based on what I knew about the characters (mainly the Smokey character).  I forgave the lack of attention on the son and suspended the absurdity at the end.  I forgave the mishap of Cledus leaving his beloved dog, Fred, behind and miraculously appearing again in the truck.  Would I watch it again?  Probably not.  Would I watch the sequels?  Maybe.  I struggled with this one a bit.  It isn’t a great movie, but it is a good movie.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

I rate Smokey and the Bandit with Three Fingers at 80%.

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One Sheet and Trailer by Univeral/Rastar

Three Random Quotes I Made

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Trifecta #21 for October 2018

Word of the Month

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Picture of the Month

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Video of the Month

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TV Movie Recommendation: Bastard Out of Carolina (1996)

Quote from Bastard out of Carolina by Narrator: “The day I was born started off bad and only got worse.  I guess I was lucky I got born at all.”

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Producer: Amanda DiGiulio and Gary Hoffman

Director: Anjelica Huston

Writers: Dorothy Allison (book) and Anne Meredith (teleplay)

Major Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ron Eldard, Glenne Headly, Lyle Lovett, Jenna Malone, Dermot Mulroney, Christina Ricci, Michael Rooker, Diana Scarwid, Susan Traylor, and Grace Zabriskie

Rating: R for strong depiction of sexual and violent abuse, including rape of a young girl

Running Time: 1 hour and 38 minutes

I don’t remember the first time I watched this, but after it was done I was completely engrossed in what I saw.  Bastard out of Carolina is an adaptation from Dorothy Allison’s novel with the same title.  I can’t say enough about the cast, both main and supporting, because the performances are believable in every second of every scene.  Ron Eldard as Glen Waddell will go down as one of my best performances of a “bad guy.”  It was when I was first introduced to Jena Malone as a child actress and her effortless ability to transform into Bone.  The story focuses on Bone and her mother, Anney Boatwright, during the 1950s South.  When illegitimacy is looked down upon and sexual molestation is thought as a family problem, the mother and daughter try to find love and forgiveness for each other.  We are still a family no matter what happens is the mantra of this familial line, but things become fractured when it is clear Bone is not safe around Anney’s second husband, Glen.   She is passed around among her aunts and uncles, sometimes finding freedom away from Glen and sometimes getting caught in his trap.  This coming of age story is ripe full of issues and some that never go away.  The sad thing is the problem still exists today, but the good thing is there isn’t as much stigma surrounding it or the lack of resources available.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by giving this TV movie a shot.

Bastard out of Carolina gets a rating of 100%.

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October Random Information

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Movie Recommendation: Trade (2007)

Quote from Trade by Jorge: “Yes.  All Mexicans are Americans, and all my friends are Mexicans, so all my friends are Americans.  It’s North America, Central America, and South America.  That’s America.  Not just you ignorant gringos up here in gringo land.”

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Producers: Ashok Amritraj, Mariano Carranco, Jakob Claussen, Amanda DiGiulio, Roland Emmerich, Andreas Grosch, Nick Hamson, Rosilyn Heller, Peter Landesman, Robet Leger, Patty Long, Tom Ortenberg, Ulrike Putz, Lars Sylvest, Oswald von Richthofen, Michael Wimer, Thomas Wöbke, and Andreas Schmid

Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner

Writers: Jose Rivera (screenplay)
                                                                  : Peter Landesman and Jose Rivera (story)
                                                                  : Peter Landesman (based from article)
Major Cast: Kevin Kline, Cesar Ramos, Alicja Bachleda, Paulina Gaitan, Lina Emond, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Tim Reid, Guillermo Iván, and Zack Ward

Rating: R for disturbing sexual material involving minors, violence including a rape, language and some drug content

Running Time: 2 hours

Trade is a crime drama about the sex trafficking trade where girls, boys, and women are often tricked and forced to become part of this illegal activity.  This fictional story is based on a New York Times article.  The movie opens with a young Mexican girl celebrating her birthday and enjoying the bike her older brother gave her.  It is shortly after here where she is kidnapped.  We follow Adriana and Jorge across the Mexican border into the United States.  She finds herself in the back of a truck with other captives where they are subdued and controlled by any means necessary by the gang who is transporting them to New Jersey.  He finds himself hesitant to trust the U.S. authorities, but finally lets his guard down at the insistence of a Texas cop named Ray, played by Kevin Kline.  We find Ray had his own reasons for being in Mexico, and as he forms a bond with Jorge, they work together to hopefully bring Adriana to safety.   This is a dose of a reality kind of movie where you wonder how can people do this to other people and still carry on with their lives with relative ease.  For the sake of the heavy content, I can see why the movie ended the way it did.  The movie had some great shots.  The music score was also really good.  I thought the actor/actress who portrayed the brother and sister were superb.  I was surprised how well I enjoyed this movie when it ended, but wouldn’t have objected if it had been a little more ominous.

Trade gets a rating of 95%.

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Woody Needs to Go Back to School

DNA: It’s What’s Inside You Morning, Noon, and Night

I’m not going to mince words here.  I’m completely fascinated by DNA and family lineages.  Since I can only look in the mirror to remind myself that I too once had a biological father and mother with their own DNA, I decided to take a test to see what my results would be.  I took the two different tests in 2016 (Ancestry and Geno).  The results were basically the same.  I’m Korean for the majority of it and on one test Northern Chinese and the other Southeast Asian/Oceanic.  It surprisingly did bring me some comfort in knowing I have four 4th cousins living somewhere in the United States (yes, I realize that’s quite a ways back) when I checked it recently again.  I have way too many possible distant cousins listed, 40 to be exact, which brings me to the point of how much our DNA is the same.  I was matched with ten famous people from a direct female line 120,000 to 65,000 years ago.  I’m sure it’s the same for everyone and if you took the test you’d get many of the same people.  Still fascinating anyway and sometimes knowing you exist and fit in somewhere is good enough.

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If you’re wondering who these people are from left to right, here are their names.

Francesco Petrarca, 1304-1374, who was an Italian scholar and poet.

Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865, who was a United States president.

Queen Victoria, 1819-1901, who was a British queen.

Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473-1543, who was a mathematician and astronomer.

Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, who was one of the founding fathers of the United States and is credited for the concept of electricity.

Marie Antoinette, 1755-1783, who was the queen of France.

Napoleon Bonaparte, 1769-1821, who was a military leader as well as the Emperor of France and King of Italy.

Maria Theresa, 1717-1780, who was Queen of Bohemia, Holy Roman Empress, and Archduchess of Austria.

Richard III, 1452-1485, who was a Yorkist king of England.

Jesse James, 1847-1882, who was an American outlaw and criminal.

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Poem: On All Fours You Were Gone

On All Fours You Were Gone

Your head was flattened as far as it could go in that tire track.

We spotted each other at the same time.

I wanted to help, but what could I have done.

There wasn’t enough room under my coat,

And I didn’t want to get scratched by your claws.

Been there. Done that. No thanks again.

It was pouring that day. The sky was dark. The drops were harsh against my face.

I had places to be, but I slowed down and crept toward you.

I thought, maybe, you could use a friend.

Maybe, you could feel a connection with my words and hand gestures.

Without moving your head, I knew you were watching me.

I meant you no harm when you raised your body on all fours.

Out of fear or hesitation, I can’t be sure.

I didn’t mean to drive you out of your comfort zone with that extra step.

You darted away, running for another place.

I watched you through my half-obscured glasses, wondering where you had gone.

For this I am sorry.

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Poem: The Deal

The Deal

You weren’t the exception that day for me.

I saw your hands gripping the steering wheel tight enough to make your

fingers cramp like one’s stomach does after overeating.

A person of your caliber never thinks logically when someone like me chases you.

It’s tragic knowing there’s nothing you can do to get away.

You claim your living the good life. You’re not.

A whole range of thoughts go through your head when your livelihood is at stake.

You possess a half-life, if that, and you know there’s never a way out.

I’m always on your heels.

The threat of your inside becoming your outside is real.

The cuts are now shallow. The hours will seem much longer.

You’ll find your life will further dissect until you can’t hold the minutes with ease.

You want what I have. You want my name. You want my power.

This will never happen when there’s nothing to add and everything to subtract.

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Writing Exercise from a Book

You are a loser who lives alone with a cat and have for quite some time.  One day your cat can’t take it anymore and starts talking.  What does it say?

Why did you adopt me?  This is worse than when I lived in the pound.  My last owner never bitched day in and day out about stupid things.  Jeez, I can’t believe you focus on such stupid things.  Just because I’ve been silent about this for the two long years I’ve lived with you doesn’t mean I like listening to you complain about your ex-boyfriend and how your friends did X or Y to you.  This is what your human friends are for or maybe a therapist of some kind. 

Your inability to move on in your life is getting old.  It’s not like there aren’t other people walking around.  You don’t see me crying when you come home with new cat food because you think it’s a good idea to change things and add a little spice into my life.  You should be lucky I’m able to show restraint and use my litter box when nature is pounding on my belly walls because of it.  I show you the courtesy to not crap on your rug so would it hurt you to stick to one kind of food or wash my bed once a while or even buy me a bigger one?  I’m not stretching out my legs for my health.  It was hoping you’d get all the cues I was giving you, but I guess not.  Now you know.  Buy me a new bed.  Quit buying me the fancy food.

Oh jeez, are you crying now?  Please lady, don’t go there.  It’s not that I think you’re a horrible person, but you’ve been spending way too much time alone and feeling sorry for yourself.  I used to enjoy being around you, but you’ve become too much.  I’ve noticed hardly anyone calls you anymore.  You used to be glued to your phone.  I used to look forward to our routine when you’d come home from work.  You’d eventually sit on the couch with a glass of wine, and I’d curl onto your lap and fall asleep to you rubbing my ears.  Those were the good old times.  The best I can get now is a “hey whiskers” and that isn’t even my name.

Listen, I can rub up against your leg to try to make you feel better, but that isn’t my style.  You need to do this for yourself.  If you want to take me back to the pound, go ahead.  I’m not afraid to protect myself.  I know I might not come out of there alive.  Would I rather stay with you?  Sure, but you’ve got to pull your head from the damn clouds and start seeing the sunshine.  Can you do that?  I hope so because I might hide and never come back out.   

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