Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quick & Flupke

Quick & Flupke (Quick et Flupke in French) is a comic book series by Hergé (famous for The Adventures of Tintin) about two street urchins in Brussels named Quick and Flupke. The two boys unintentionally cause trouble, leading to annoyance with their parents and the police.
The series was published in black and white in the pages of Le Petit Vingtième starting in January 1930. The strips continued until 1940 (although they were republished in the Tintin magazine, conceived by Raymond Leblanc, this time coloured by Studios Hergé).
Hergé eventually abandoned the series in order to spend more time on The Adventures of Tintin, his more famous comic series. After Hergé's death, the books were coloured by the Studios Hergé and re-issued by the publishing house Casterman in 12 volumes, between 1985 and 1991.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Brown - 2nd (French) Hussars

I don't often post on military berets, except when they are significantly 'different' or interesting for another reason (like the Tartes of the Chasseurs Alpin or Indian Naval Commandos).
These brown berets caught my eye because they don't have a badge attached to them, but the badge is embroidered on the beret. It's the badge of the French Tank Corps, with an added "portée hongroise" to it.  
The 2nd Regiment of Hussars is a French army regiment formed in 1735. The regiment distinguished itself during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Currently, it is the armoured regiment of intelligence to the Army. The regiment is part of the Intelligence Brigade stationed in Haguenau, which includes all the regiments of the "Earth Action Force" specialized in intelligence gathering.
The unit specializes in infiltration and camouflage, the 2nd Hussars are characterized by the mobility of its patrols that are re-deployable on short notice.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin

Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, Ph.D., is a pharmacologist and chemist known for his creation of new psychoactive chemicals. 
After serving in the Navy, he earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from U.C. Berkeley in 1954. In the late 50s and early 60s he did post-doctorate work in psychiatry and pharmacology at U.C. San Francisco and worked briefly as research director at BioRad Laboratories before becoming a senior research chemist at Dow Chemical Co.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fleetwood Mac & Stevie Nicks

Fleetwood Mac are a British-American rock band formed in 1967 in London.
Due to numerous line-up changes, the only original member present in the band is its eponymous drummer, Mick Fleetwood. Despite band founder Peter Green naming the group by combining the surnames of two of his former bandmates (Fleetwood, McVie) from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, bassist John McVie played neither on their first single nor at their first concerts.
The keyboardist, Christine McVie, who joined the band in 1970 while married to John McVie, appeared on all but two albums, either as a member or as a session musician. She also supplied the artwork for the album Kiln House.
The two most successful periods for the band were during the late 1960s British blues boom, when they were led by guitarist Peter Green and achieved a UK number one with "Albatross"; and from 1975 to 1987, with more pop-orientation, featuring Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
Fleetwood Mac's second album after the incorporation of Nicks and Buckingham, 1977's Rumours, produced four U.S. Top 10 singles (including Nicks' song "Dreams", which was the band's first and only U.S. number one) and remained at No.1 on the American albums chart for 31 weeks, as well as reaching the top spot in various countries around the world. To date the album has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it the eighth highest selling album of all time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aki Kaurismäki

Aki Olavi Kaurismäki (1957, Orimattila, Finland) is a screenwriter and film director.  
After studying Media Studies at the University of Tampere, Aki Kaurismäki started his career as a co-director in the films of his elder brother Mika Kaurismäki. His debut as an independent director was Crime and Punishment (1983), Dostoyevsky's famous crime story set in modern-day Helsinki. He gained worldwide notice with his movie Leningrad Cowboys Go America.
Kaurismäki, with beret, in the shooting of Le Havre
His movies have a unique downplayed humorous side that can also be seen in the films of Jim Jarmusch.
In terms of awards, Kaurismäki's most successful movie has been The Man Without a Past. It won the Grand Prix and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2003. However, Kaurismäki refused to attend the gala, noting that he didn't particularly feel like partying in a nation that is currently in a state of war. Kaurismäki's next film Lights in the Dusk was also chosen to be Finland's nominee in the category for best foreign film. Kaurismäki again decided to boycott the Awards and refused the nomination as a protest against U.S. President George W. Bush's foreign policy.
In 2003, in one of his most famous protests, Kaurismäki boycotted the 40th New York Film Festival as a show of solidarity with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami who was not given a US visa in time for the festival.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Spanish Holocaust

Republican prisoners about to be shot by Nationalist firing squad
The Spanish Civil War; I continue to be amazed by the brutality that happened 75 years ago and how little is known about it by the general public, reverted to in politics and lessons not taken. 
I am half way, struggling through Paul Preston's new work "The Spanish Holocaust" and it doesn't make for pleasant reading, but is incredibly interesting and revealing.
Of course, the present-day Spanish right-wing press dismiss the work as biased and pro-Republican (what else could you be, if having to take sides?), but I am impressed with his research and extensive descriptions of atrocities committed by the Republican side, or better, in Republican held territory.
A highly recommended read! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Norton Buffalo

Norton Buffalo (1951 – 2009) was a singer-songwriter, country and blues harmonica player, record producer, bandleader and recording artist best known as a versatile exponent of the harmonica.
Norton performed and recorded as a member of The Steve Miller Band for over 32 years. He often performed and recorded music as a session musician, and appeared on 180 albums. A cover of Buffalo's song Ain't No Bread In The Breadbox was in heavy rotation at Jerry Garcia Band concerts from 1991 until Jerry Garcia's death in 1995, and appeared on the live release Shining Star.
On September 2, 2009 Buffalo was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the lower right lobe of the lung. The next day, he found out that it had spread to his brain. He died on October 30, 2009 in Feather River Hospital.
In honor of his life and career (over 180 album appearances), friends of Buffalo threw "A Celebration of Life: Tribute To Norton Buffalo." The event occurred at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California. Acts and performers included, The Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis, George Thorogood, Elvin Bishop, Carlos Reyes, and Buffalo's home band the Steve Miller Band.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Scandinavian Series #16 - Letters to Father Jacob

Letters to Father Jacob (Finnish: Postia pappi Jaakobille) is a 2009 Finnish drama film written and directed by Klaus Härö.
Set in the early 1970s and based on a story by Jaana Makkonen, the film tells the story of Leila, a pardoned convict, who becomes an assistant to a blind, beret wearing, priest, Jacob.
The film depicts her transformation from a sceptic who grudgingly reads letters aloud to her benefactor into a caring savior of the pastor from his despair after the letters stop coming.
Exteriors were filmed at St. Olaf's Church in Tyrvää, Finland (Pyhän Olavin kirkko). The interiors were filmed at Holy Cross Church in Hattula (Pyhän Ristin kirkko).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Che Guevara - Again

Long-time visitors of The Beret Project know about my dislike of Che Guevara (or better: his heritage in pop culture).
Despite all his great ideas about social equality, to me he was primarily a cold blooded killer, merciless to anyone who had a different opinion from his.
But of course, there is no denying that he is the best known beret icon, worldwide.
Here are some pictures of Che con boina that are not as well known as the famous one by Alberto Korda.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ramon de Zubiaurre

Ramon de Zubiaurre was born in Garay, Vizcaya, in 1882. His father was a musician, a pipe organ player and the maestro of the Royal Chapel in Madrid. Just like his elder brother Ramon also dedicated himself to painting. 
Ramon was deaf and mute from his birth and of course it favoured his major tendency to observe the world. The family had to move to Madrid because of his father's new work, but Ramon, due to the health problems he was born with, spent the first four years of his life in Garay in the charge of a woman who was his neighbour. 
His challenged childhood spent in the Basque Country influenced later his painting that was full of sensibility towards the Basque landscape and the Basque people.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Alberto Korda

Alberto Diaz Gutierrez better known as Alberto Korda is undoubtedly the most famous Cuban photographer. 
His legendary images of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro are part of the iconography and myth of the revolution, which has led to confusion and pigeonhole his work as the photographer of the "Cuban Revolution".
But Korda was much more than the man who portrayed the leaders. As explained by his daughter, Diana Diaz: "Only 10% of his work deals with the theme of revolution", and now finally the other Korda seems to emerge, giving us a new and more complete vision of the work of this great teacher.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Le Sourire

'Le Sourire' was one of the many light-hearted Parisian magazines featuring 'racy' drawings of semi-clad mademoiselles, as well as stories and jokes of a similar nature. Paterned after the succesful 'la Vie Parisienne', 'le Sourire' and other similar magazines all followed the same recipe. Such magazines were enormously popular both before, after and during the Great War and quite innocent when all was said and done, despite the reputation they enjoyed abroad. Straight-laced Anglo-Saxons and Americans especially thought such publications the ultimate in perdition and impending moral ruination and warned against their acquisition. Usually to little avail one hopes.
Generally speaking, magazines such as 'le Sourire' tried to keep war-related subjects at a distance, though as good french patriotic publications they knew where their duty lay. One of the more important services such magazines provided however was the placement of personal announcements in which soldiers of all nationalities, could request 'adoption' by a 'marraine' or godmother. 
These (hopefully) attractive, light-hearted, gay and sensitive ladies would then enter into correspondence with their adoptive 'godsons', sending letters of good-cheer and heart-warming sentiment to bolster the lonely soldiers' morale at the front. And when soldiers were allowed on leave, there was always the hope that something more profound might blossom from a war-time correspondence.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pavel Antokolsky

Pavel Antokolsky (1896 - 1978) was a poet, translator and essayist. Born in St. Petersburg, his father was the great sculptor Mark Antokolsky, one of the first unconverted Jews to rise to the top of Russian culture.
Living in Moscow since 1904, Antokolsky entered the Law Faculty of Moscow University, but left after two years.
Starting from 1915 he acted on stage and in 1920 became the co-director of the studio of Evgeny Vakhtangov, where he remained until 1934. Antokolsky began to publish in 1918.
During the Great patriotic War, Antokolsky headed a front-line theatre and composed patriotic ballads and long poems, next to him being a correspondent for the "Komsomol Truth'.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Victorien Sardou

Victorien Sardou (1831 – 1908) was a French dramatist. He is best remembered today for his development, along with Eugène Scribe, of the well-made play.
He also wrote several plays that were made into popular 19th-century operas such as La Tosca (1887) on which Giacomo Puccini's opera Tosca (1900) is based, and Fedora by Umberto Giordano, a work that popularized the fedora hat as well (despite known to be wearing a beret himself!).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tartes at the White House

I found these old photographs without any further information than that they were taken in 1918. Chasseurs Alpins (or "Blue Devils") at the White House in Washington DC. Whether the war was finished at that time or still being fought, I don't know.
Interesting to see these grand berets at this location. If you have any further information about this, please let me know - I would love to learn more!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Spy Files (2)

Not Spy Files in the strict sense of the word, but still, Iphone pic's taken by my Bro while on holidays in Bilbao. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Consuelo Kanaga

Following yesterday's post on Wallace Putnam, I can't leave out this great photograph by his wife Consuelo Kanaga.
© Consuelo Kanaga, undated, Untitled (Muckworker) / USA
Consuelo Delesseps Kanaga (1894–1978) was an American photographer and writer who became well known for her photographs of African-Americans. 
In 1935 she found the right romantic and creative partner in Putnam, and the two of them remained together for the rest of her life. They traveled frequently and spent the last half of the 1960s going back and forth to France.
Kanaga died on 28 February 1978, in Yorktown Heights, New York. Her entire estate amounted to $1,345 in photographic equipment, almost 2,500 negatives and 375 prints. Everything else she had given away to friends.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wallace Putnam

Wallace Putnam, born in Massachusetts, attended the department of fine arts at Harvard Art School, the Boston Museum School, the Boston Normal Art School and the Hartford School of Art, spending no more than a year at each.
It is a record that suggests at the very least a temperament ready for the Modernist rebellion. And in fact, Putnam was only three years out of school when he was selected for the "Societe Anonyme International Exhibition" at the Brooklyn Museum (1926). It was the biggest avant-garde event since the Armory Show of 1913, and it was followed a decade later by one even bigger, the Museum of Modern Art's "Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Stock from France!

Yes, the long awaited new stock from France has arrived (everything, apart from the military version of the Tarte, which should be in soon). That means:

- The brand new Béret Berrueta. A beret specifically made with the outdoors, hiking, mountaineering and hunting in mind. A loden (green) beret that is also the headgear of (the officers of) the Belgian elite mountain infantry regiment Chasseurs Ardennais (or "Hunters of the Ardennes). Hard to find, even in France and I honestly believe I am the only on-line outlet that sells these great berets. 
- Also new and therewith the new top of the line at South pacific Berets, the Super Foulard Sancho. I have been reluctant to stock these berets because of their high cost, but shall give it a go with 2 dozen - Blancq-Olibet's finest finishing, impermeable, grand berets in 10.5 pouce (291mm) diameter and for starters only available in brown. 
- Back in stock: the Grand Foulard PeBeO (until today, SPB's top model) and now available in sizes 57 - 60. A large beret, coming close to the Tarte of the Chasseurs Alpins with 11 pouce (302mm diameter).
- Similar news for the Bakarra Deluxe Excellence berets: available again in a larger range of sizes.