Friday, July 30, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tatto

Is nothing sacred? I heard on the news last night that there is to be a Hollywood version of the book "The Girl With the Dragon Tatto." I guess there was too much attention and money involved to let a classic remain pure. OK, I'll admit I am no fan of the Hollywood machine that projects a special effects world where everyone is 25, blond, super thin, and botoxed to the hilt (omit men in all the aforementioned areas except the botox... I know, I know, more kitty litter over here as I'm becoming rather catty).

Part of what I liked about the Swedish movie was that none of the people were portrayed as perfect but appeared quite regular in terms of their physical makeup and complex psychological problems. These were the kind of people you could expect to see walking down the street with faces that were expressive and harbored all the marks you expect to see on yourself as well as the person next door. I guess you could say this was what added to the believability of the movie in relation to the gritty Stieg Larsson books.

And, to use a line from a famous Abba salute movie "Muriel's Wedding": "You can't stop progress!" But, I can give you a sample of the alternative. I have embeded the trailers from the Swedish movies and urge you to go see it along with the second feature in the trilogy "The Girl Who Played With Fire" which is currently playing in theaters. Both are spellbinding and the people are real!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Someone Who Will Be Missed...

I received an email a week ago that both touched my heart and made me a little sad. My blogging friend Ana Marquez sent an email that she needed to take a small break from blogging.

It touched my heart that she thought enough of her readers to send out an announcement so they would know she would not be posting for awhile. It also made me a little sad because she is such a great person and artist and I always look forward to her beautiful sketch images. The sketch on the left of my blog titled "Cherrie's door" is a quick free hand drawing she did for fun that I just love.

I know how the demands of daily life can overwhelm you and blogging becomes one more thing that is added to an already crowed day. So I wanted to salute my friend and make certain I shared part of her with you. Here is a link to her blog and I encourage you to use Google Translate to read what she has to say.

To her I will say: "Take care my friend and I look forward to your return!"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My New Guilty Pleasure...

It all started quite innocently, I found a list of independent films that were a "must see" and sighed thinking they would probably never come to Jacksonville. And then, one day I read an article in the local newspaper about a small indie theater just starting up... and I was hooked! As usual, click each photo for a better view.

We found ourselves going all the time to a little section of town called 5 Points. The initial draw was the first in the film trilogy from the Swedish author Stieg Larsson, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." Last night we went for the second installment "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and decided to walk around a little and I realized that there, almost in the heart of the City, is a small town.

A small town that has no malls, possesses a vibrant street life... and a little edge!

A little edge like the shop called Wolfgang where the owner has a passion for vintage motorcycles that he displays next to the fashions he sells.

Or the bar next to the theater that has this wonderfully whimsical mosaic in the outside seating area.

I love this shot of the display window of an antique shop. I like the busy feel of it, almost like a collage where you see the bike, and then the reflection of the cars, and an older woman staring at the bike probably remembering a time long ago.

There is wall art everywhere like this mural and relief mounted near the door of a shop,

or further down the street near a bead shop this mural that incorporates the reflections from the window to show what is happening in the street.

The absolute find of the day is this huge mural of a dragon or lizard, depending upon your mood, that covers the entire side of one building.

Some people love chocolate but, don't tell anyone, my new guilty pleasure is 5 Points!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oh Savannah...

I almost forgot I had pictures from our last outing in Savannah over a month ago. Things sped up after our return and I never had a chance to post them. Now seemed as good a time as any. What we discovered on our second trip was that we had covered all the historical sites so this time we decided to focus on a few monuments but primarily architecture. As always, click each photo for a better view.

First, what would a trip to Savannah be without a photo of our old friend Oglethorpe. The more I read about the man, the more I like him.

And then it was a mad dash off into the city to see what we could find. I included this one because it made me smile. Which time would you decide to follow?

I'll confess and say I saw these two doors and could not help myself. One is titled the noble door....and the other is the pink door. They were within blocks of each other near one of the squares (parks) and just sort of called to me.

Near downtown, we ran into this old building done in the Louis Sullivan style. Sullivan is considered the father of the modern American skyscraper and is known for creating bold designs for banks and other public buildings. The flourishing around windows and doors is his signature.

further downtown, St Mark Cathedral's facade seemed to go up to the heavens and I tried to get this shot to give the impression that it is growing before your very eyes.

By now it had really heated up and we decided to park our bikes and visit the Maritime Museum to escape the heat and southern humidity. They had three floors of miniatures of every tall ship, paddle boat or ship you could imagine....

but the most interesting was a room size miniature of Titanic!

There was a tremendous attention to detail, right down to the life boats and ice in the water.

While going from room to room I saw this shot and stitched together several shots to give the sense size and color that made you stop and savor the view.

By now we had walked a good distance going through every room in the exhibit. Once outside, I took a candid shot of Alex taking a break under a shed on the grounds of the Museum. With the hat on his knee and his position, he looks very much the Southern gentlemen.

And, back to the bikes and a few more locations near the riverfront. We ran into this vase near the Cotton Exchange which provided a degree of curious visual interest, both from the plants growing out of it and the face on the sides. The face below seems to be looking back at you just as much as you are looking at it.

And finally the Haitian Chasseus Volontaires statue. It celebrates Haitian volunteers, under French leadership, who aided America during the war for independence from England. the statue is quite noble but difficult to photograph because it is shaded by a huge oak tree and light is defused. But, we both kept running around it taking shots like children around a Christmas tree until I finally got a shot that illustrates the emotion of the piece.

By then we were more than ready to head back to our hotel and rest. Happy that we had ventured beyond the usual tourist spots and really dug into more reasons Savannah is such an interesting place.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Constant Gardener

Back by popular demand (that means you Chrissy, and I hope you are laughing your head off!) I finally remembered to take the camera and get some pictures of Daddy's garden. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

I mentioned before that I learned he is shy and to get this shot I had to wait for him to look up. Later as I was experimenting with the picture I realized it some how has more impact in black and white. The black and white somehow is more him than color.

The garden itself is not huge like mine...

but he has lovingly weeded it and is very proud of the fact that his okra returns the favor by producing an abundant crop.

His tomatoes have held up well despite the heat. He laughed and proudly told me that twice this week he had Okra and tomatoes and then with a satisfied smile commented on how great they were.

I asked if he wanted to stand in front of his crop but got a reply that his fans would have to wait until the heat cooled off, and besides, he had a gossip magazine to read! I can't wait to get his take on the latest episode in the life of Lindsay Lohan!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Exit Through The Gift Shop

It is not often that you encounter a true classic outside of the Hollywood machine, but recently I encountered just that. I had heard a little about the film "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and went to see it with an open mind... not quite certain what I was going to see. I knew it was a movie about a movie but what I encountered was a lot more.

Basically a little Frenchman, Thierry Guetta, with a passion (and I do mean passion) for video photography decides he is going to find and film the illusive, yet world famous, street artist named Banksy. Once he finds him, the tale becomes an Alice in Wonderland saga where Thierry enters the in your face, tongue in cheek, creative world of the stencil street artist and how he is transformed. Transformed so much that Banksy decides to turn the tables. I will not give away the surprise ending, but it is a surprise!

It is a small movie but a huge tale that will make you smile and ask yourself "What is art?" I have provided a view of the trailer and highly recommend that if it comes to your town run, and I do mean run to see it! This link provides a schedule of screening locations.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Hidden Jewel of St. Simons Island

Alex and I decided that we had been working much too hard and needed a break. And now I am going to surprise you and say we decided to go to the beach... outside of Florida!

We had heard a little about St. Simons Island and it seemed perfect in that it is a little over an hour away, is in another state so we could say we did a little interstate travel, and of course it would provide a chance to take some pictures! As usual, click on each photo for a better view.

We struck out with me playing the female Willie Nelson singing "On the Road Again" during the drive. The picture above is a pier we encountered which really amazed us because you normally do not think of beaches and piers when you think of Georgia.

To enter the island you have to cross this interesting bridge. I snapped this shot from the car. The suspension section at the top reminded me of sails on old sailing ships.

And after some discussion regarding directions, we saw the sign telling us we were going in the right direction.

After reading a little history of the area we discovered it was settled by the Spanish who took the name from inhabiting Native American dialect, and Fort St. Simons was built in 1738 under the command of our good friend General James Edward Oglethorpe. The fort was built to protect the entrance to the Frederica River where ships had to pass to reach Fort Frederica. At the time, the tip of St Simons Island was the most heavily fortified area in Georgia. The fort was later destroyed by the Spanish in 1748 (sounds a lot like the history of St. Augustine with the area changing hands back and forth between the English and the Spanish). Now, the area serves as a beach resort...

and one of the main attractions is the light house that long ago guided ships into the area . We discovered we were in luck, because the light house had been refurbished in April of this year and was presentable for all manner of picture taking.

I took a close-up of the globe lamp or lense which you should remember from our visit to the St Augustine Lighthouse.

One thing I really liked about the place was that bicycles and golf carts were the preferred mode of transport around the island so we felt right at home riding our bikes. There is a more personal feel to the place when compared to St. Augustine and the hotels and bed and breakfast houses blend into the charm of the area. This little hotel is a perfect example of the quaint feel of the place.

At night the island seems to take on an almost magical feel. A dusk view of the lighthouse seems very different from the view during the day.

Here is the globe in all it's glory...

Even the trees seemed to take part in the glorious dance of the night. Alex and I were walking along the beach, turned... and there they were!

And finally, my best shot of the adventure was taken as we walked near the water's edge. It seemed like a perfect end for the day. We both felt calm and rested and resolved to return for many more adventures to come...