Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week: Wednesday 18th July

Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie, born 14th July, 1912
My favourite photograph of a musician is this, a picture of Woody Guthrie, kindly given to me by the peerless Bob Gumpert. It’s my favourite because it has all the essential ingredients for a great music photo: An Icon. A Cigarette. A great location. A wide-angle that puts you right there. An acolyte, absolutely in the moment of playing with an trailblazer. A fascinated, curious crowd, all looking about fifteen. Their expressions are priceless.

Jack ’n’ Woody

I asked Bob how he came to have the picture: “It was taken by a photographer named Art Dubinsky—I am guessing the late 50’s-early 60’s in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, NYC. The other guitar player is Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. Art was a friend, a generous man who was a far better photographer than he got credit for. He lived in NYC at the time—at least I think so. I met him when he lived in LA and I was working in a rental darkroom, time behind the counter for time at the enlarger. He came in one day to use the darkroom as his home had burned down. We got to talking and became friends. He put me in contact with the National Lawyers’ Guild which led first to my photographing farmworker housing at Gallo wine, housing they said they didn’t have, and then to Harlan County, Kentucky for three months of photographing a coal miner’s strike. That in turn led to everything else. Sorry—I guess that is really more about Art and I and not the photo. He gave me the image, probably for no other reason than I liked it and had said so.” An appropriate story to celebrate Woody’s hundredth birthday—a story of friendship, inspiration and workers’ rights.

Poor Old Donovan, Destined To Be Dissed By Dylan Comparison Forever*
The always-amusing Barney Ronay on André Villas-Boas, new Spurs Manager, Guardian. “…there was something oddly heartening about the return in full-page panoramic close-up of André Villas-Boas, now formally in place as the new head coach of Tottenham Hotspur, and appearing, austerely suited in the middle of all this wretchedness, like an unexpected knock at the door from the local curate, who against all expectation you find yourself delightedly ushering inside. Welcome back, André. It has become fashionable to see Villas-Boas as a rather tarnished figure, to recall the frictions of his time at Chelsea, to balk at that familiar air of manicured expectancy. And to portray him instead as a kind of weak-chinned, own brand José Mourinho, Donovan to Mourinho’s Dylan, a provincial Wimpy bar to Mourinho’s gleaming McDonald’s, a managerial Sindy doll of prodigious inauthenticity. This is more than a little unfair. If nothing else there is much to admire in the way Villas-Boas is still out there… displaying the unshakable backseat extroversion that all the best managers have, as he winces and struts centre stage in skinny-trousered splendour, looking each time a little more like a tiny little dancing soldier on top of a wedding cake, or, increasingly, like a particularly convincing waxwork of himself.”

* However, Donovan doesn’t see it this way himself—there’s not much humility going on in his autobiography, The Hurdy Gurdy Man. The evidence of Don’t Look Back doesn’t lie, however—It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue vs To Sing For You?

Roll Away The Stone
The Stones played their first gig at the Marquee club 50 years ago this week. Bill Wyman, in his book, Stone Alone: “On 3 March 1963 we played… an afternoon session at the Ken Colyer Club, Studio 51, in Soho. It was ironic that we were given a great welcome by the ladies, Vi and Pat, who ran this stronghold of New Orleans-style jazz, whereas the jazz snobs at the Marquee and elsewhere saw us as upstarts who should not be encouraged.” The Stones went on to play Ken’s club most Sundays for a year. On September 10th, 1963, The Beatles visited them as they rehearsed at the 51. They presented them with a new, unfinished song, I Wanna Be Your Man. On hearing that the Stones liked the song, John and Paul went into the office and completed it.

The Sound Of Gatz
Ben Williams is on stage through the whole of Gatz (so that’s about six-and-a-half-hours in all), sitting at a desk off to one side, controlling the sound effects and cues, as well as playing various characters. He does a stunning job—sometimes intensifying the drama, sometimes broadening it out with humour—running the gamut from car crashes and gunshots to air conditioner hums and vaudeville turns. One of the most (unexpectedly) moving moments comes when Mike Iveson, playing Gatsby’s houseguest Klipspringer, turns the office sofa into a piano and mimes the gestures of a pianist, paying along to Williams’ tape. He abruptly stops and sings, acapella, the only words in Gatz which don’t come from Fitzgerald’s book, the song The Love Nest.
Building houses still goes on
Now as well as then
Ancient Jack and Jill are gone,
Yet return again.
Ever comes the question old,
“Shall we build for pride? Or,
Shall brick and mortar hold
worth and love inside?”
Just a love nest, cozy and warm,
Like a dove rest, down on the farm,
A veranda with some sort of clinging vine,
Then a kitchen where some rambler roses twine…

In an exquisite rendition, Iveson turns the theme from the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, a pretty standard Twenties musical number, into a complex, achingly poignant commentary on the emptiness at the heart of Jay Gatsby’s mansion.

M.I.A.’s ‘Bad Girls’ Video, As Recommended This Week In Metro By Shirley Manson
Words are extraneous. Just go to 2:03. Go on.

Comments

  1. Hello – –
    I am very interested in Arthur Dubinsky. Are you still in contact with Bob Gumpert? I am trying hard to find any information on Dubinsky. I am the archivist at Pitzer College and this year is our 50th anniversary. Arthur Dubinsky heavily photographed the first 5 years of Pitzer College and we are curating an exhibit of his photos of Pitzer and producing a book of the photos he took of Pitzer. By the way, the photos are amazing. He really is an unrecognized talent. Anyway, we have very little biographical information and I’m following any lead I can find – hence contacting you. Please help if you can. It’s for a great cause. Thanks, Stacy

    • Stacy Elliott! I wish I could help you. I was going to contact YOU about Dubinsky. I am a biographer of Ava Helen Pauling — I’m at Oregon State University in the History department. Dubinsky was a friend of the Paulings who photographed them several times, and I am seeking a way to get permission to reproduce several of his photos of the Paulings. I’m just creating a blog entry now to see if any other Dubinsky people can produce more information. Tell me if you find any! I will link the blog entry here: http://historianslens.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/desperately-seeking-art-dubinsky/

      • Stacy Elliott says:

        Hello,

        Well, a to has happened since I wrote to you that first time. Ao, now I may be of some help to you. First of all, I was able to track down Bob Gumpert and we had a lovely telephone conversation. I am also in contact with Arthur’s daughter (he had 3 children 2 boys and a girl), Maia.

        I am happy to pass on a request from you, if you like. She has his collection of negatives, but from what I understand, she has not made an attempt to identify what images she has, yet. But when I spoke with her, she seemed motivated to do sometime with them. I encouraged her to explore constructing a website. But it’s a big job, especially as a side hobby-type thing.

        Anyway, I’ve seen some of those Pauling photos. I didn’t know what the relationship between Linus and Arthur was, but I would would be interested in what it was. Please share what ever information you have regarding their relationship.

        Did I mention in my comment on your site that we’re mounting an exhibition and producing a book on Dubinsky. There will be about 30 prints in the exhibit and about 100 in the book. I will be writing his biography for the book, so I would be grateful for any information.

        Thanks for contacting me. All the best, Stacy ________________________________ Stacy Elliott Archivist|Pitzer College 909.621.8810

        From: Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week <comment+p34kgl-jm0mnnv_0r0iceho2kmud15-y6h0gatz_cdcbvu4@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:34 AM To: pitadmin <stacy_elliott@pitzer.edu> Subject: [New comment] Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week: Wednesday 18th July

        minacarson commented: “Stacy Elliott! I wish I could help you. I was going to contact YOU about Dubinsky. I am a biographer of Ava Helen Pauling — I’m at Oregon State University in the History department. Dubinsky was a friend of the Paulings who photographed them several time”

      • THANK YOU! I will call soon! And yes, please pass on the request to the family and I’ll get contact info from you, if possible.

Trackbacks

  1. […] as I was drafting this, I found another shout-out about Dubinsky in the form of  a comment on Martin Colyer’s blog entry on this same set of photographs from Stacy Elliott, archivist at Pitzer College. She too has been looking for more information on […]

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