Virtual Re-visit to the art of Rufino Tamayo

A few years ago, 5 to be exact, I was visiting Mexico D.F. on a whim and made a short stop to one of my favorite museums, el Museo Rufino Tamayo. It is a place I love, because of the architecture and space, as well as the location by the Bosque de Chapultepec and Polanco, which is a really nice area for an afternoon visit.

I blogged about my visit to the Museo Rufino Tamayo back then, and about how moved I was by an exhibit about the photographer Tina Modotti and her letters to fellow photographer Edward Weston in 1930. I think I must have been short on time, because I don’t recall seeing any works by the master Rufino Tamayo himself. That is a pity, because I do love his paintings. ¿Qué pasó que no tengo ninguna foto del arte de Rufino Tamayo en esa visita? A lo mejor estuve muy busy tomando fotos de la arquitectura y se me fue el tiempo.

Lucky for me, I have a newfound love for an online gallery service called Artsy. I am thrilled with their site, and would encourage you to take a look if you’re into art and news about the art world.

Artsy’s mission is to strive to make all of the world’s art accessible to anyone online. They have a Rufino Tamayo page, where you can find his bio, images with some of his works and most importantly, a link to shows where you can see his art on display, which is a really valuable resource. So check it out.

In the meantime, since it’s Flashback Thursday, here are a few pix of that short visit to the Museo, and to the minimalist architecture by the Mexican architects Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon and Abraham Zabludovsky.

Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City.

Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City.

RufinoTamayo1 RufinoTamayo2 RufinoTamayo3 RufinoTamayo4 RufinoTamayo5

Visiting Gabriel Figueroa @LACMA

Mexico has a long history of amazing cinematographers, but none is more beautiful nor visually eloquent as Gabriel Figueroa.

Gabriel Figueroa was a master of light and shadows, one of the most prolific Mexican cinematographers who shot the films that are representative of the Epoca de Oro del Cine Mexicano. He worked with the most famous directors and actors of his day and helped create a collective image of a time and place in Mexico that existed mostly in black and white. And the remarkable thing is he did it with a film camera, a light meter, and film negatives. Remember those? There weren’t any computers, no Photoshop nor digital tools back in the 1940’s. 

LACMA recently opened a new exhibit featuring his work and influence. “Under the Mexican Sky-Gabriel Figueroa: Art and Film” is a joint project between LACMA, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Televisa, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and Conaculta. I’m glad all these organizations got together to make this happen because there aren’t usually many exhibits dedicated to cinematography. This is a real treat.

As you walk through the hall you see montages on large screens of his films with the directors El “Indio” Fernandez and Luis Buñuel. What struck me most was how much a single image, a still frame of a moving shot, could be a stand alone piece of art.

Those images convey beauty, sadness, pride, melancholy or just profound admiration for the landscape and scenery, el paisaje mexicano. I was also struck by how much women cried in these stories- puro melodrama y sufrimiento- and how men were  always “engrandecidos y valientes” almost to a fault. There are bits of his work from the movies Flor Silvestre, Maria Candelaria, Enamorada, Bugambilia, La Perla, Maclovia, Un Dia de Vida, Los Olvidados, among many others. 

You also see the influence painters such as Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco had on Figueroa’s work. It was like he was applying film to their paintings. My dear friend Alex Munguia used to tell me that if I wanted to take better photographs, then I should study famous painters and try to emulate what they did. Of course he was right, but it became completely evident to me once I saw the relationship between Diego Rivera’s Murals of the Mexican Revolution and Gabriel Figueroa’s Cinematography. Isn’t it interesting how different art forms relate and influence each other? The medium is different, but both are equally powerful.

Mr. Figueroa lived to be 90 years old and stayed active in film and the arts until the end. I hope you can go admire his work in this fabulous exhibit. It runs until February 2, 2014.

Gabriel Figueroa in 1945 during the filming of "La Perla" (Dir. Emilio "Indio" Fernandez)

Gabriel Figueroa in 1945 during the filming of “La Perla” (Dir. Emilio “Indio” Fernandez)

Los ojos de Maria Félix, forever immortalized by the lens of Gabriel Figueroa.

Los ojos de Maria Félix, forever immortalized by the lens of Gabriel Figueroa.

There are plenty of screens with montages of his works as well as still shots and other memorabilia.

There are plenty of screens with montages of his work, as well as still shots and other memorabilia.

Mexican beauties as observed by Gabriel Figueroa, who wa snot afraid of the extreme close up. Among his leading ladies are Maria Félix, Dolores del Rio and Columba Dominguez.

Mexican beauties as observed by Gabriel Figueroa, who was not afraid of the extreme close up. Among his leading ladies are Maria Félix, Dolores del Rio and Columba Dominguez.

Maria Félix and Columba Dominguez in a dramatic moment.

Maria Félix and Columba Dominguez in a dramatic moment.

"Dia de Flores" by Diego Rivera, apr of the exhibit and cited as one of the references in Gabriel Figueroa's cinematography.

“Dia de Flores” by Diego Rivera, part of the exhibit and cited as one of the references in Gabriel Figueroa’s cinematography.

Even if she wanted to look ordinary, Maria Félix was stunning on screen.

Even if she wanted to look ordinary, Maria Félix was stunning on screen.

The contrast, shadows and light are simply beautiful.

The contrast, shadows and light are simply beautiful.

Un paisaje con la "Mujer Dormida" al fondo.

Un paisaje con la “Mujer Dormida” al fondo.

Pedro Armendariz in all his glory.

Pedro Armendariz in all his glory.

Para mi, Roberto Cañedo is the most attractive man in Mexican Cinema. Here he romances Columba Dominguez.

Para mi, Roberto Cañedo is the most attractive man in Mexican Cinema. Here he romances Columba Dominguez.

Posters from Mexican movies, in different languages.

Posters from Mexican movies, in different languages.

Gabriel Figueroa checking his negatves in 1994. This photograph was taken by his son, Gabriel Figueroa Flores.

Gabriel Figueroa checking his negatives in 1994. This photograph was taken by his son, Gabriel Figueroa Flores.

EntradaGabrielFigueroa

Go see this exhibit on view at LACMA.

Go see this exhibit on view at LACMA.

Remembering two late, great musical talents

César Portillo de la Luz was my favorite bolero composer I never knew about, until this Monday when I heard a report on Public Radio International’s (PRI) “The World.”

The Cuban musician passed away last week, at 90, but leaves behind beautiful work, including my favorite romantic ballad “Contigo en la Distancia,” among others, which I did not know he composed.

¿Se acuerdan cuando back in the 90’s Luis Miguel came out with his “Romances” CD? We all thought nobody could sing a romantic tune like he could. Pues little did I know that César Portillo de la Luz had a wonderful original recording of Contigo en la Distancia that totally mesmerizes just as you hear it. It was recorded back in the 1940’s; he plays the guitar and sings it beautifully. ¡Que Luismi ni que Luismi! No le llega ni a los talones.

Betto Arcos, who was the reporter of this radio piece/appreciation on The World, mentioned that Mr. Portillo de la Luz was part of a musical style from Cuba called “Feeling,” which was inspired by American jazz and composers like George and Ira Gershwin. Y sí que eran puro “feeling” en todo lo que hacían. All you hear is the passion behind the music and lyrics. 

Please take a listen to this fabulous radio piece, it won’t even take 5 minutes of your time and you’ll really enjoy it. The song Contigo a la Distancia is included. ¡Creo que ya me enamoré!

The link is here: http://www.theworld.org/2013/05/cesar-portillo-de-la-luz/

Listen to this radio piece on Cesar Portillo de la Luz on The World, originally aired May 13, 2013. Reporter is Betto Arcos.

Listen to this radio piece on Cesar Portillo de la Luz on The World, originally aired May 13, 2013. Reporter is Betto Arcos. Click on the link or on the image to go to the site.

Another musical talent that we probably won’t see the likes of anytime soon passed away 15 years ago today on May 14th, 1998.

His name was...Frank Sinatra.

Ol' Blue Eyes. A stamp honoring Mr Frank Sinatra.

Ol’ Blue Eyes. A stamp honoring Mr Frank Sinatra.

How can I describe what I feel when I hear “New York, New York” every single time it is played? Or “I Got You Under My Skin,” or “Fly Me to the Moon,” or you name it! Joy, bliss, happiness…that voice, that music. He was something else, an entertainer con todos los talents: he could sing, act, make you laugh, and make you cry.

Por eso decían por ahí, “It’s Frank’s world, we just live in it.”

The LA Times had a little note about him today, which I’ve added below. It was originally published in 1998.

Read until the very end, how his Grandmother saved his life on the day he was born. I guess the world was not meant to be deprived of his music and Frank Sinatra was meant to be.

Frank Sinatra

Born Francis Albert Sinatra on Dec. 12, 1915 inHoboken, NJ

Frank Sinatra was a talented and temperamental balladeer who dominated popular music longer than any entertainer before him and clung to his legendary life as tenaciously as he had stuck with the audiences he loved.

Sinatra’s masterful interpretation and flawless execution of some of America’s most beloved songs earned his reputation as the most influential popular singer of the 20th century. His accomplishments broadened to include film, with such roles as his Academy Award-winning performance in “From Here to Eternity.”

For more than three generations, his name was synonymous with talent and taste. In the late 1930s, his fragile frame and painfully shy expressions made swooning, shrieking fools of the normally normal teenage girls standing by the bandstands where he first earned his living at $75 a week. In the 1960s he gathered in millions as both partner and star in the clubs of Las Vegas.

Sinatra had good cause to be angry from the moment he entered the world Dec. 12, 1915. He was a 13-pound baby, and birth was difficult. He was to bear on his neck the rest of his life the scars of the doctor’s forceps.

The doctor concluded that the baby was lost and concentrated on saving the mother, Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra, a nurse and midwife. But the grandmother, Rosa Garavanti, picked up the newborn child and held him under a cold water tap until he began to choke and cry — and breathe.

— Burt A. Folkart in the Los Angeles Times May 16, 1998

An instagram pic by yours truly: Frank Sinatra painted on an aluminum rolling door int he middle of Hollywood Blvd. (Photo CBGRAPHY 2011)

An instagram pic by yours truly: Frank Sinatra painted on an aluminum rolling door on the Hollywood Blvd. walk of fame. (Photo CBGRAPHY 2011)

Wordless Weds: Un Cafecito Por Favorcito

It’s been a busy week. Thank God for Coffee…

Coffee Shop pic

Cool sign at Bob’s Big Boy Coffee Shop, in Downey, CA.

bustersfornaio intelligentsia LACMA Latte pain quotidien San Judast tadeo Coffee

Must see exhibit: Stanley Kubrick at LACMA

Authentic film buffs and admirers of the “cine de autor” genre have pretty high standards for their movie preferences, and surely Stanley Kubrick must be on top of their list.

He was a genius and a little far out in his ideas, one of those once in a lifetime people who changed the world (and how we see it) through his movies. Lucky for us in Los Angeles, at the moment we have an amazing exhibit that allows us to get to know the mind and the work of Mr. Kubrick.

Ongoing till June 30, 2013 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA) “Stanley Kubrick” is a great collection of the work of Mr. Kubrick, from his early days when he started out as a photographer for Look Magazine all the way to his film masterpieces. There are entire sections dedicated to A Clockwork Orange, Lolita, Paths to Glory, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, and Barry Lyndon. There’s a collection of his film cameras, lenses, scripts and production notes, images and costumes from his movies, as well as personal mementos. It’s a real treat for movie lovers.

I never considered myself a fan of Kubrick’s work, (yo me veo mas como una Woody Allen person) but after this exhibit, this film god has my total admiration. Be sure to catch it if you can before it leaves in the summer.

Here are a few glimpses from Kubrick at LACMA.

The Kubrick exhibit at LACMA runs until June 30th. Go see it!

The Kubrick exhibit at LACMA runs until June 30th. Go see it!

in 1949, a young Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look magazine. This is a great picture of Rocky Graziano.

In 1949, a young Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look magazine. This is a great picture of Rocky Graziano.

IMG_4714

The wing for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

IMG_4718

I always found this movie to be very creepy. “A Clockwork Orange” is on full display.

IMG_4730

Remember these? Ay ay ay… “The Shining” cuatitas costumes on display.

IMG_4735

One of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite cameras, a Arri, for which he had special lenses made. Got goose bumps just to think what this camera has captured.

IMG_4762

“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” Yes, the typewriter is here.

OSCAR’s 2013 chisme and favorite moments

After the marathon show that was the 2013 Oscars, I think I’m gonna miss all the award shows that we were getting used to every weekend.

Personally, the Oscar show is a annual ritual for me, almost like an obsession where I sit in front of my tv and don’t move until it’s over. It’s been like that toda mi vida. What can I say, I’m a sucker for celebrities and Hollywood stuff. Yo hablo de los artistas como si fueran mis compas…

This year all the award shows seemed more exciting, with plenty of good movies to see and root for. It was a chance to see my two favorite men, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper again and again.

I’m glad Argo won and Ben Affleck got his Oscar for best picture (although my sentimiental favorite was Silver Linings Playbook which I saw 3 TIMES!) and made a wonderful, messed up speech que me hizo llorar un poquito. I saw it when he won with Matt Damon 15 years ago for writing Good Will Hunting, and it made me think of all those years in between when we thought we’d lost him, como decia mi amigo Alex. But he made it through!

Tambien me da gusto por la Jennifer Lawrence, although she definitely needs to work on her finesse for delivering speeches (never mind all those mishaps as she walks on stage, more on that later). But she looked beautiful nevertheless.

I was very upset that Robert De Niro didn’t win supporting actor, but I have yet to see Django Unchained, so maybe Waltz deserved it. And I can definitely say I am not a fan of Seth McFarland (really, Academy, you need to find SOMEBODY to host this thing with the grace and sophistication the show deserves.)

Other than that, me declaro fan oficial de Bradley Cooper y mi suegra, Gloria Cooper, with her feathered do and her sneakers on the red carpet, and frankly I’m a little jealous of JLaw and all the chivalrous gestures she receives from him in person and all the times he raved about her in interviews every chance he got.  Además, not only did Hugh Jackman rush to help her get up when she fell on her way up the stage, a few gifs on the internet show Bradley also running to help her. True gentlemen indeed!

Here are a few of my favorite images from the evening, taken from the Twittersphere and beyond.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are always happy to see each other. Here they are arriving at the Oscars. (photo from US Magazine Twittter)

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are always happy to see each other. Here they are arriving at the Oscars. (photo from US Magazine Twitter feed)

They have chemistry, these two. (Photo from Twitter)

They have chemistry, these two. (Photo from Twitter)

Saludando a la suegra, la mamá de Bradley Cooper, Mrs. Gloria Cooper.

Saludando a la suegra, la mamá de Bradley Cooper, Mrs. Gloria Cooper.

Like a good Italian-Irish Mama's boy, Bradley Cooper took his mom to the Oscars.

Like the good Italian-Irish Mama’s boy that he is, Bradley Cooper took his Mom to the Oscars.

¡Y que se cae la Jennifer Lawrence!

¡Y que se cae la Jennifer Lawrence!

But her two Knights in (black) shining armor went to her rescue: Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. Suertuda!

But her two Knights in (black) shining armor went to her rescue: Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. Suertuda!

From Ben Affleck;s Twitter: getting his Oscar engraved. Very happy for him.

From Ben Affleck;s Twitter: getting his Oscar engraved. Very happy for him.

Time for Argo. But more importantly, Ben Affleck habla Spanglish!

Happy Friday everybody. It’s time for a good movie.

I’m looking forward to ARGO, a new film out this weekend by the multi talented and multi guapísimo Ben Affleck, who acts and directs. It’s about a real life event that you may (or may not) remember from the Iranian hostage situation back in 1979. (Yo sí me acuerdo un poco but I have to spruce up on my history lessons.) It looks like a  smart movie, with a great story and good actors in it. It also was shot by the wonderful Rodrigo Garcia who is one of the best cinematographers around y además es mexicano.

¿Pero qué creen? Resulta que el Ben habla español muy bien! This makes me happy, I don’t know why, but whan I saw this video I was very pleased to learn that he can handle his Spanglish beautifully and that he’s friends with el Chivo Lubezki (another wonderful mexican cinematographer) and is not afraid to say Alejandro González Iñárritu out loud, among other things.

Here is the link to the interview and please be patient because it loads up pretty slow… but I promise you a nice Taco de Ojo con and a very smart guy. Who knew Ben Affleck lived in Mexico when he was 13 years old and that his favorite word in Spanish is “Sacapuntas“?… Awww! So funny! Take a few minutes to watch it.

My film recommendation is to go see ARGO and support al Señor Affleck. He keeps making good movies so it’s worth a trip to the theater.

Here’s the link from Warner Brothers: Ben Afffleck Interview en español.

El Ben Affleck habla español muy bien! Pero también sabe un poquito de Spanglish. His new movie “Argo” is out today.

And here’s the trailer for ARGO: