Posts Tagged ‘United States’

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“THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER”

08/25/2011

one of Scorsese’s favorite rock-n-roll films ever….

by JEFF STAFFORD

You might not know the name but you know the face. One of the most eccentric character actors in American cinema, he has had the rare distinction of working with everyone from James Dean and Elia Kazan (in East of Eden) to Marlon Brando (on The Wild One & One-Eyed Jacks) to Stanley Kubrick (on The Killing & Paths of Glory) to John Cassavetes (on Minnie and Moskowitz & The Killing of a Chinese Bookie) to The Monkees (on their feature debut Head, co-written by Jack Nicholson and directed by Bob Rafelson) to Mr. T, Bill Maher and Gary Busey in D.C. Cab…and I’m leaving out Clark Gable (Across the Wide Missouri), Francis the Talking Mule (Francis in the Navy), director Curtis Harrington (What’s the Matter With Helen?) and god knows who else. We’re talking about Timothy Carey and probably his greatest role is the one you’ve never seen – The World’s Greatest Sinner.

Written, directed and starring Timothy Carey, The World’s Greatest Sinner truly qualifies as an underground movie in more ways than one. Not only did it never receive an official theatrical release, making it practically impossible to see unless it was at one-off screenings organized by Carey, but the film defies practically every convention of commercial filmmaking, inventing its own film language as it goes along. Is it a Dadaist prank? (Carey was a huge fan of Salvador Dali) Is it an allegory about American culture and society? Is it a Beat Generation rejection of conformity? Or is it some kind of crackpot masterpiece about self-actualization? It’s probably all of the above and then some.

Here’s the basic concept of The World’s Greatest Sinner in a nutshell. An insurance agent named Clarence Hilliard suddenly has a revelation at work and discards his nine-to-five existence for streetcorner sermonizing. But he doesn’t preach the gospel. Instead he espouses his own spiritual beliefs after making a pact with the Devil (the voice of Paul Frees in the guise of a snake) - “There’s only one God, and that’s Man.” Soon, he changes his name to God and begins to attract a following of new converts through his live rockabilly performances and impassioned rabble-rousing. His promise to make everyone a “superhuman being” brings him into the political arena where he runs as an independent for President of the United States. As his power and influence grows, so does his delusion that he is invincible. He seduces 80-year-old women and 14-year-old girls alike in his blatant flaunting of taboos, incites riots, and eventually challenges the real God to a showdown.

As audacious as it sounds, the execution is decidedly un-Hollywood in presentation. The film, featuring a cast of non-professional actors with few exceptions, has a home movie feel to it, with scenes shot in Carey’s home, his neighborhood, in and around Los Angeles and on cheap interior, low-budget sets. The sound recording is inferior and some of the dialogue is hard to hear, the cinematography (by Ray Dennis Steckler of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living… fame, among others) is wildly uneven from poorly lit scenes to an obvious fondness for the odd detail,  and the editing is haphazard, resulting in occasional incoherence that is closer to stream-of-consciousness musings than a conventional linear approach to narrative.

The musical segments, in particular, are especially memorable because Carey recruited a young, unknown-at-the-time Frank Zappa to compose the score – and it’s one reason for the movie’s cult fame. Zappa would later dismiss the movie, according to Carey, stating that The World’s Greatest Sinner was “the world’s worst film and all the actors were from skid row.” But the same accusations would later be leveled at the films of John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Multiple Maniacs) which shares so many sensibilities and renegade filmmaking tactics with Carey’s opus.

Of course, the main reason to see The World’s Greatest Sinner is to observe Timothy Carey with the brakes removed. He’s mesmerizing in every scene but subtlety is not his speciality. Some critics have accused him of being a total ham and his scene chewing has an excessive, bigger-than-life quality. But just try to tear your eyes away from the screen. Watch him shake like a bowl of radioactive jello as his Elvis-like alter ego dressed in gold lamé (There’s a little James Brown thrown in as well – “Please! Please! Please! Please! Please! Take My Hand!” –  and maybe even some Tiny Tim). See him transform before your eyes into a hell and brimstone evangelist or play it sweet and low-key as an insurance salesman who’s just “seem the light.”

Carey has always had his own “style” of acting and when you start to consider all of the parts he’s played, he stands out in every movie, even in films where a director like Stanley Kubrick tightly controls every detail right down to an actor’s performance. Among some of my favorite Carey performances are his scary whorehouse bouncer in East of Eden, the shellshocked, emotionally damaged soldier facing execution in Paths of Glory, the creepy gangster assigned to watch over hostage Phyllis Kirk in Andre de Toth’s Crime Wave, one of the hell-raising motorcycle gang members in The Wild One and his racetrack marksman in The Killing. Now you can add God Hilliard in The World’s Greatest Sinner to your list of favorite Carey roles. If you want to know more about Carey, there are countless web sites about him on the internet but I recommend you start with his son Romeo Carey’s site – Absolute Films.

(MOVIE MORLOCKS.COM  9.20.08)

“THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER” 1962 directed by Timothy Carey

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THE ROUTE OF FRIENDSHIP…

03/15/2011

19 monumental sculptures created for the ’68 XIX Olympics in Mexico City

by KAREL WENDL

One of the cultural artistic realizations of the Mexico City Olympic Games of 1968 was the planning and execution of nineteen abstract, monumental, concrete sculptures on the Southern part of the “Anillo Periferico”, the superhighway leading around the capital of the country. It was an example of team work on a large project of an artistic nature made possible especially by two distinguished personalities, architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, who was the President of the organizing committee of Mexico’s Olymic Games, and Mathias Goeritz, a German sculptor who was the creator and director of the project.

At that time architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez had already received both national and international acclaim for having designed the acclaimed National Museum of Anthropology, the Aztec Stadium, and other outstanding buildings as well as hun- dreds of public schools built by local labor and materials. He later became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and, together with his Swiss col- league, Jean Pierre Cahen, designed both the administrative building of the IOC and the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Mathias Goeritz was a noted sculptor, born in the free city port of Danzig, who had to flee from the Nazis because he was partly of Jewish origin. He settled in Mexico after the Second World War. In 1957 Goeritz had designed a group of concrete towers called the “Torres de Satelite” in the suburb “Ciudad Satelite” near Mexico City. These tower-sculptures were conceived with a direct relationship to a super-highway. Today they are situated in a densely populated area of the huge megalopolis.

In 1966 Mathias Goeritz proposed to Pedro Ramirez Vazquez that the organizing committee of the Games of the XIX Olympiad convene an international meeting of sculptors in Mexico as one of the cultural events of the Olympic Games. Numerous meetings devoted exclusively to aesthetic questions had already been held in the past in different parts of the world, but the idea was that this one should give the artists a specific task or theme. The meeting was supposed to gather together sculptors from every continent, from all ethnic groups and from all the main political trends of the world at that time. It thus had an idealistic and humanistic nature that transcended aesthetics and was in conformity with the fundamental principles of the Olympic

The Route of Friendship Movement was to be an international event with the unifying theme of brotherhood of all the peoples of the world. The particular problem the sculptors were to solve limited their artistic liberty by the following restrictions: the sculptures had to be made of concrete, be monumental, and abstract. Furthermore, the sculptors were supposed to have in mind solutions related to being located adjacent to a superhighway. The President of the organizing committee gave his full support.

The nineteen monumental sculptures were executed along the “Anillo Periferice” on both sides of the Olympic Village. At that time this expressway which was in the process of construction passed through zones outside the city as well as urbanized areas. It also went through parks and sparsely inhabited zones which later became part of the city.

(OLYMPIKA  Vol. VII 1998)

the participating artists: Angela Gurría – Mexico, Willi Gutmann – Switzerland, Milos Chlupác – Czechoslovakia, Koshi Takahashi – Japan, Pierre Székely – France/Hungary, Gonzalo Fonseca – Uruguay, Constantino Nivola – Italy/United States, Jacques Moeschal – Belgium, Todd Williams – United States, Grzegorz Kowalski – Poland, Jose Maria Subirachs – Spain, Clement Meadmore – Australia, Herbert Bayer – United States/Austria, Joop J. Beljon – The Netherlands, Itzhak Danziger – Israel, Olivier Séguin – France, Mohamed Melehi – Morocco, Helen Escobedo – Mexico, Jorge Dubón – Mexico…

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extinct dog breeds…

02/28/2011

a look at canines past…

from WIKIPEDIA

Alpine Mastiff

The Alpine Mastiff is an extinct Molosser dog breed, the progenitor of the St. Bernard and a major contributor to the modern Mastiff (through such dogs as “Couchez”), as well as to other breeds that derive from these breeds or are closely related to them. The names “Alpine Mastiff” and “Saint Bernard” were used interchangeably in the early 19th century, though the variety that was kept at the hospice at the Great St. Bernard Pass was significantly altered by introducing other breeds, including Newfoundland and Great Dane, and it is this composite breed that now carries the name St. Bernard. Inevitably these dogs filtered through to the wider population, and the original variety dwindled in its pure form, though a rare breed, the “Cane Garouf” or “Patua”, found in the part of the Alps formerly inhabited by the Alpine Mastiff, may also descend from the extinct breed.

Blue Paul Terrier

No one seems to have full knowledge as to how the Blue Pauls were bred or from where they originally came. There was a story that John Paul Jones, the Scottish born American sailor, brought them from abroad and landed some when he visited his native town of Kirkcudbright about 1770. The Gypsies around the Kin Tilloch district kept Blue Pauls, which they fought for their own amusement. They were game to the death and could suffer much punishment. They were expert and tricky in their fighting tactics, which made them great favorites with those who indulged in this sport. They maintained that the breed originally came from the Galloway coast, which lends support to the Paul Jones legend. The first dogs to arrive in the United States with the English immigrants in the mid-19th century were the Blue Paul Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Bullenbeisser

The Bullenbeisser (also known as the German Bulldog) was a breed of dog known for its strength and agility. The breed was closely related to the Bärenbeisser (some believe that the two breeds were the same (the names mean “bull-biter” and “bear-biter”), and the Boxer. There were two regional varieties, the Brabanter Bullenbeisser and the Danziger Bullenbeisser. The Bullenbeisser became extinct by crossbreeding rather than by a decadence of the breed, as happened with the Old Time Bulldog, for instance. In the late 1870s, German breeders Roberth, Konig, and Hopner used the dog to create a new breed, today called the Boxer. Some 30 Bullenbeissers were already crossed by the Boxer Kennel Club of Germany at 1900 in with Bulldogs brought from the British Isles. The blood composition was 50/50 at that time, however, the German owners started crossing their dogs with all kinds of Bulldogs and Boxers, which produced an undistinguishable breed after the World War II. One reason why such quantity of German blood was used to create the Boxer dog was the wish to eliminate the excessive white color of the breed, and the necessity of producing thousands of dogs for one of the most popular breeds in the world.

Cordoba Fighting Dog

The Cordoba Fighting Dog originated in Córdoba, Argentina. The breed had such strong aggression toward other dogs that the males and females would rather fight than mate. In addition, many members of this breed died in the dog fighting pits, contributing to the breed’s extinction. The Cordoba was capable of hunting in a small pack of a male and female, otherwise they were more likely to turn on their packmates. The Cordoba was used as a contributing breed to create the Dogo Argentino.

Among the breed’s ancestors, the most notable is the Bull Terrier, which at the time was still used in England for dog fights – at the same time Bull Terriers were being exported to the Indian subcontinent where today their lineage includes the Gull Terr.

Dogo Cubano

Dogo Cubano or Cuban Mastiff or Cuban Dogo or Cuban Dogge is an extinct breed of dog from Cuba. It was of Bull Mastiff type. This breed of dog was used for dog fighting.

This breed of dog was introduced in Cuba to capture runaway slaves (cimarrones). After the abolition of slavery it became too expensive to feed and the breed ceased to exist with time.

Hare Indian Dog

It is thought by some that the breed originated from cross-breedings between native Tahltan dogs and dogs brought to the North American continent by Viking explorers during the Norse colonization of the Americas, as it bears strong similarities to Icelandic breeds in appearance and behavior, such as cat-like body rubbing to express affection. Though originally spread over most of the northern regions of North America, the breed fell into decline after the introduction of firearms made its hunting abilities redundant. It gradually intermingled with other breeds such as the Newfoundland dog, the Canadian Eskimo dog and Mongrels.

Kurī

Kurī is the Māori language name for the Polynesian dog. It was introduced to New Zealand by Māori during their migrations from East Polynesia sometime around 1280 AD. It was used by Māori as a food source and the skin and hair was used for making dog-skin cloaks, belts, decorating weapons, and poi. The kurī became extinct in New Zealand some time after the arrival of European settlers. The last known specimens, a female and her pup, are now in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Paisley Terrier

The Paisley Terrier was a breed of terrier type dog from Great Britain, bred primarily as a pet and showdog version of the Skye Terrier, and was the progenitor of today’s Yorkshire Terrier. The Paisley Terrier was described in 1894 as “an excellent house dog, and most suitable for a lady who wishes something more substantial than a toy”, but the care requirements for the coat made it less desirable than some other popular breeds as a pet.

St. John’s Water Dog

The St. John’s Water Dog, also called the St. John’s Dog or the Lesser Newfoundland, was a naturally-occurring dog breed from Newfoundland. Little is known of the breeds that went into its creation, although it was likely a random-bred mix of old Irish, English, and Portuguese working breeds. This breed is the ancestor of the modern Retrievers; including the Flat Coated Retriever, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Golden Retriever, and the Labrador Retriever. The St. John’s Dog was also the founding breed of the large and gentle Newfoundland dog, likely as a result of breeding with mastiffs brought to the island by the generations of Portuguese fishermen who had been fishing offshore since the 15th century. The St. John’s dog was made extinct in its homeland by a combination of two factors. In an attempt to encourage sheep raising, heavy restrictions and taxes were placed on dog ownership during the 19th century.

Tahltan Bear Dog

Raised by the Tahltan Natives to hunt bear, the Tahltan Bear Dog was a mighty power in a small package. The Tahltan Bear Dog had the courage to face a bear, but was friendly and gentle with smaller animals and with humans. They lived in the tent with the family, sharing bed and board. Descended from pariah-type dogs that had come with prehistoric migrations, the Tahltan Dogs were centralized in the remote mountainous areas of northwestern British Columbia and the Southern Yukon. Their usual diet was small bits of birds, meat and fish, and they flourished in the bitter cold. Outside their native environment, they succumbed to distemper, heat prostration and problems due to dietary changes. As white explorers came into the territory, bringing a variety of other dogs, the Tahltan Dog became diluted.

Tesem

Ancient Egyptians gave the name Tesem Tesem ( = tsm) to curly tailed dogs that resembled a sighthound such as a Greyhound. These dogs were featured on monuments, and in wall paintings that showed their tall, lean body with the noticeable prick ears. They had a greyish-yellow coat, with long legs and a broad prominent forehead. Their size exceeded the Pariah dogs of the time. Their structure of their skeleton was closer to the modern terrier than that of the modern greyhound.

Turnspit Dog

The Turnspit Dog was a short-legged, long-bodied dog bred to run on a wheel, called a turnspit or dog wheel, to turn meat so it would cook evenly. It is also known as the Kitchen Dog, the Cooking Dog, the Underdog and the Vernepator. This took both courage (to stand near the fire) and loyalty (not to eat the roast). Due to the strenuous nature of the work, a pair of dogs would often be worked in shifts. This may have led to the proverb ‘every dog has his day.’ The dogs were also taken to church to serve as foot warmers. Just as the invention of the spinning-jenny abolished the use of distaff and wheel, which were formerly the occupants of every well-ordained English cottage, so the invention of automaton roasting-jacks has destroyed the occupation of the Turnspit Dog, and by degrees has almost annihilated its very existence.

(WIKIPEDIA)

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308,745,538…

12/21/2010

the U.S. has the world’s third largest populationChina is the most populated at a little over 1.3 billion, India comes in second with about 1.2 billion…  an updated daily estimation by the U.S. Census Bureauputs the world population at approximately 6,903,700,000 — and counting..!

from U.S. CENSUS

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the 2010 Census showed the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2010, was 308,745,538.

The resident population represented an increase of 9.7 percent over the 2000 U.S. resident population of 281,421,906. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Acting Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves unveiled the official counts at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. resident population represents the total number of people in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The most populous state was California (37,253,956); the least populous, Wyoming (563,626). The state that gained the most numerically since the 2000 Census was Texas (up 4,293,741 to 25,145,561) and the state that gained the most as a percentage of its 2000 Census count was Nevada (up 35.1% to 2,700,551).

Regionally, the South and the West picked up the bulk of the population increase, 14,318,924 and 8,747,621, respectively. But the Northeast and the Midwest also grew: 1,722,862 and 2,534,225.

Additionally, Puerto Rico’s resident population was 3,725,789, a 2.2 percent decrease over the number counted a decade earlier.

(U.S. CENSUS  2010)

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