Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Frame by Frame Review of A Single Man in Reverse


I am a visual person by nature and by training. I see things in frozen frames. I first and foremost apprehend the formal qualities contained in these frames. I smell textures, hear colors and taste the composition. More often than not I flatten the world and make a mental picture before I start to rationally understand what lays before my eyes. Tom Ford's recent movie "A Single Man" felt that way. It felt as if moments were frozen in frames, edited out and re-sequenced. Then they were color calibrated, contrast perfected, softened, smoothed, cropped and served on a silver plate. There were very few frames which lacked that obsessive perfection yet the movie didn't feel over the top. The story was an equally well edited balance of drama and quietude, obsession and letting go.

The second to last episode in the movie is the brightest, wildest of them all. This is the one time Colin Firth - a single man - feels alive and excited to be so, too. Throughout the movie firth is living an elongated mourning for his deceased lover. He is sad and tortured outside of the very few prosaic black and white memories.

Perhaps the most epic episode is the late night randez-vous at Julianne Moore's house. Here, a single man is juxtaposed to a single woman. The man remains much more closed off to the world and to the the woman than the woman is to the man. Most scenes shoot Colin Firth from the back and Julianne Moore from the front; he is closed off and she is vulnerable. This tension breaks down when the two of them come unbearably together on the floor or on the couch.

I like this scene where we get to see the couple approaching and then walking away from us.

Below are 2 of the 4 or 5 precise and particular ways in which Firth tries to kill himself.

These two were my favorite scenes. The post-liquor shop encounter with the young gay man is backdropped with a pink Los Angeles sky and gigantic movie banner. The little girl in the blue dress at the bank is the only time bright color is introduced to the brown, black and white dominant frames.

The epic black and white memories.

Julianne Moore is among the numerous very attractive females portrayed in the movie. However, while the rest of the women are placed as back drop objects, Julianne Moore is the only real contrast to the overtly male world revolving around Colin Firth. Two sides of the female personality are embodied in Moore. The sensuous close-ups of Moore's face covered in pale powder, her pale pink nail polish, soft red hair, diffused freckles are contrasted to the dark contours of her eyeliner. Moore's soft spoken voice, pale pink decorated home are contrasted to her black and white striped night gown and femme fatale moves on Firth.

Another scene with many architectural qualities portrays Firth driving to school. Shots of the "brutal-modern" school building, almost black and white in appearance, are framed by the car window. The scale shifts back and forth from the bigger scale of the school building seen through the front window, to the medium scale of Firth driving seen through the side windows and finally to the small scale of the details of Firth's eyes and glasses reflected on the mirror.

Here Colin Firth, dressed in his usual uptight suit, is sitting on the toilet, next to an open window, stealing looks at the neighboring family's morning routine. The scene is very architectural, particularly the cropping of the slot window. Again we see Firth from the profile, the back and the front. All we need in order to understand the context and the event is a section, and two elevations.

The rigidity of Firth's personality is juxtaposed to the overly casual toilet situation. The loneliness of the single man is juxtaposed to the eventful life of the family next door.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Bucolic Winter (last year)

photographs from last christmas in red hook.......................

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Old Men by the mail box

While we are on the Yale topic, I met these two old men by the mail box around the corner. They reminded me of Yale's Handsome Dan but these old men dont like the camera much. Check out that tooth.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yale's Lindsay Chit Tiffany Window


I just read an article about the Tiffany window of Yale's Lindsay Chitendam Hall in the Yale Alumni magazine. The author shares a significant personal anecdote about how he first encountered the puzzling story of a tiffany window's removal from one of Lindsay-Chits stairway windows. The spy story-like development of events unfolds around the author secretly coming upon the real Art, Science, Music Tiffany window hiding dustily behind a black curtain, where it in fact was supposed to have been removed by Yale in order to be protected from student destruction, a precaution deemed necessary following the uprises of the 70s.

Today this real Tiffany window hangs in its original location in Lindsay-Chit's once the great reading room, now room 102, where I have taken a variety of lecture classes from City Planing to English and more. I was tempted to write a few words on this building as I too remembered the few but relentlessly recurring moments that the great old cricketty Lindsey Chit comes up in conversation. LC was only made accessible to my use when I was a sophomore as it must have been going through renovation prior to then. I remember taking an English seminar and enjoying the brand new auditorium which felt cozy because of its relatively small size but not cozy in the same way that reminds you of centuries of academia which most other Yale buildings do.

I used to work as a telephone fund raiser for the University to make $10/hr for not more than four to six hours a week. I remember my first phone call ever was answered by a youngish male who so pitied my overly nervous voice and international accent that he had donated $1000 on the spot which was by far the biggest donation I nor any other telefunder who I personally know was able to secure. My newly gained confidence allowed me to speak more comfortably on my second call which was to an older man who had become a poet following his Yale education. I stayed on the phone for approximately 20 minutes with this man who started out by asking me if I had taken any classes yet at the newly renovated Lindsay Chittendam great hall, to which I responded enthusiastically by saying that I had. He went on about the Tiffany mural which he used to stare at during long inspirational lectures about poets whose names I do not recall. As I was building hopes that he would follow the footsteps of my previous recruit and donate a large sum, he continued to depict the old hall and how not equally lucky we were that we never got to experience the old building in its original form and that the new renovation must have been less inspiring, more common, etc. My potential donor finally wrapped up to terminate the phone call by complaining that this Yale educated poet never ended up making enough money to consider giving a penny back to his alma matter. Go figure, Lindsay Chit Tiffany Mural.

Drawing Interior Surfaces

The Leo Burnette Office by Ministery of Design and Hotel Puerto America room by Zaha Hadid both showcase beautiful linework to offset the white space. I like.

Folding Interior Surfaces

The Corian Superstore Showroom by Amanda Levete
The structured stiff folds in juxtaposition to this softer organic fold

The Cloud in Metaphor

The cloud by Artelier Hapsitus reminds me of these other occurences of a seemingly weighty blob in the act of elevating

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Work Table and the View

When I dont have my current uptown Mnhattan view out of my window, I will draw one.
The playful table and storage units are by Mind Products.

The Ghost Chair

Do we like my new ghost chair?
or were we over it 5 years ago?
one thing I am sure is that it blends in with anything, and if nothing else, I simply dont mind it.

The Loitering Wall

I found this image on earlier today. It is a swerve from my normal inclination to post delectable imagery, but it ain't all too beautiful out there, is it? A 7/11 on 93rd and Amsterdam came up with this twisted idea to provide loiterers a fleuro-lit awning over a part of the pavement siding a graffiti infested brick wall. Would it be apt to call it a new street architecture typology or a parodical offering to the microwave heated burrito consumer?

Another unintentionally satirical addition to the world was spotted by the Sheepshead Dooze in Sheepshead Bay. A utility shaft looking thing located in a row of other this worldly architectural things is one of those things you dont notice until one day you do notice and wonder when things went so astray for the mankind. Today you will have to excuse my inabilitiy to express my observations by any other word than "thing".

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What you can find at a New York Flee Market

All I swapped was money at the Brooklyn Flee in the Clock Tower. I guess thats why they no longer call it the swap meet. Anyway, the location was gorgeous for a flee market to unfold, lots of antique fit out to backdrop the vintage. Still not sure whether it was the setting or the reality which made me think there actually was a good range and selection of true and faux vintage furniture, clothes and knick knacks.

The building and the dim lighting made almost everything reuse worthy looking. I also liked the civility and urbanity of a Galleries Lafayettes type department store which the old bank building's existing space provided for the temporary market place conversion.

This heroic coat and the Pucci resembling dresses were some of the better displays of vintage clothing., other than the most amazing sweater with the sequined airplane and clouds I actually bought. You will have to track me down wearing it to appreciate what i am talking about.

The 70's or the faboulous fifties?

I regret not getting this photograph.

i bought this oval mirror and no i did not buy the faux Chanel look in pink.