Monday, December 31, 2012

The Brand New Boina Exposición Tupida Arrived - And Just In Time!

At the very last day of the year and half a day before the 3-week holidays closure of South Pacific Berets, the brand new boina Exposición Tupida arrived.
The boina Exposición Tupida is the latest edition in the range of Boinas Elósegui berets; a beret made on special order and only available in a small number - a one-off, as these won't be re-stocked. The Tupida (Spanish for "dense") is a beautiful beret in a generous 13" / 330mm diameter. Impermeable, of course, fitted with a dark green satin lining and the embroidered Tupida label. These one-size berets have a relatively large head opening, best for head sizes 58 and over.  

Holidays - 1

Ah yes, it's that time of year again (when you happen to live in the southern hemisphere): Summer Holidays!
The Beret Project and South Pacific Berets are away for the next three weeks, on a family expedition to the deep South of New Zealand.
Gods, ferry and car willing, I should be back here by the 23rd of January. 
Ordering through South Pacific berets remains possible and all orders will be shipped within 24 hours of my return - promise!
Meanwhile, as usual when on holidays, a daily picture from the archives. Thought this one had plenty of story in it:
See you in 3+ weeks. Have a great 2013 you all, and keep wearing that beret! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sabino Arana Goiri

Sabino Arana Goiri, self-styled as Arana ta Goiri'taŕ Sabin, (January 26, 1865 – November 25, 1903), was a Basque writer. He was the founder of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and father of Basque nationalism.
He died in Sukarrieta at the age of 38 after falling ill with Addison's disease during time spent in prison. He had been charged with treason for attempting to send a telegram to President Theodore Roosevelt, in which he praised the United States for helping Cuba gain independence from Spain.
In prison, 1902
Sabino Arana's ideas are considered to have spawned the nationalist movement. Today, he is viewed as a controversial figure, due to his xenophobia and ethnocentrism and his ideas of a pure race.
The Partido Nacionalista Vasco, holders of the intellectual property of his works, has chosen not to reprint them since 1976, keeping only the more "moderate" part of his message in their charter. On the other hand, some Basques still revere him as the father of the nationalist movement, who managed to start the turnaround of the decay of the Basque language and culture. Many Basque cities have streets named after him.
The estate of his Abando home is now Sabin-Etxea ("Sabino-House"), the EAJ-PNV headquarters.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Telesforo Aranzadi Unamuno

Telesforo Aranzadi Unamuno (1860 - 1945) was a scientist specializing in anthropology , botany and zoology.
Unamuno conducted intensive research in various fields of Anthropology, Natural Sciences and Ethnography.  
His first publication was on Basque mushrooms and the vegetation of the Basque Country.
Telesforo de Aranzadi at an excavation of the dolmen of Albia en Aralar
Together with José Miguel de Barandiarán and Professor Enrique Egurenhe led the first campaign of excavations and research into the prehistoric dolmens of Aralar Gipuzkoa. 
His writings exceeds the number of three hundred publications, books, articles and others.
He died in Barcelona on February 12 , 1945, at 85 years of age.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thomas Kinkade - Painter of Light

Thomas Kinkade (1958 –2012) was an American painter of popular realistic, bucolic, and idyllic subjects. He is notable for the mass marketing of his work as printed reproductions and other licensed products via The Thomas Kinkade Company. 
He characterized himself as "Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light," a phrase he protected through trademark but one originally attributed to the English master J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). He was claimed to be "America's most-collected living artist" before his death with an estimated 1 in every 20 American homes owning a copy of one of his paintings (ay, ay, ay, what does that say about Americans' appreciation of arts..?).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Purple Berets

Purple berets... There are not many around, apart from cheap Chinese made berets that are generally found on markets, fairs and Ebay. And, not many are worn by men.
There are exceptions though, like the rabbi's in the South African Defence Force. 
Or the women in grassroots, in-your-face women's rights group 'Purple Berets', dedicated to gaining equal justice for women. 
Or a more unlikely affiliation with purple berets: the magazine 'Purple Beret', that caps issues in the military industries and from the foreign policy front. 
And yes, cartoons. Always purple berets in cartoons.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tomás Milián

Tomás Milián (born March 3, 1932) is a Cuban-American actor best known for having worked extensively in Italian films from the early 1960s to the late 1980s.
Tomás Milián was born in Havana as Tomás Quintín Rodríguez, the son of a Cuban general. His father was arrested and jailed after Fulgencio Batista took power in Cuba: he later committed suicide. Milián then decided to leave Cuba and pursue his wishes of being an actor. He settled in the United States to study at New York's Actors Studio and later became an American citizen.
After starting a career in the United States, he went to Italy in 1958 to take part to a theater festival in Spoleto. He eventually decided to relocate to Italy, where he lived for over 25 years, gradually becoming a very successful performer.
Although his voice was dubbed most of the time by Ferruccio Amendola, Milián wrote his own lines in Roman slang. Milián's inventive use of romanesco (roman dialect) made him somewhat of a cult performer in Italy, even though his later films were critically panned. Bruno Corbucci, the director of many of these films commented, "At the cinemas as soon as Tomás Milián appeared on the screen, when he made a wisecrack and in the heaviest situations, then it was a pandemonium, it was like being at the stadium."
As he grew older, Milián decided to go back to the United States. He appeared in Sidney Pollack's Havana, Steven Spielberg's Amistad, Steven Soderbergh's Traffic as well as Andy García's The Lost City, about Revolutionary Cuba. He has also played many roles on stage. He portrayed Generalisimo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina in the film version of Mario Vargas Llosa's novel The Feast of the Goat.
Tomás Milián resides in Miami, Florida.
Thank you, "Italian Wise-Guy"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all! (and if you didn't get what you were hoping for, there is always South Pacific Berets!). 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Italian Workers

There is something about the look of Italian workers that makes them distinctly different from other countries, and they are photogenic too. 
Have a look at these great pictures from the 1950's, all workers wearing the traditional Italian workers hat, or Basco Roma
Postwar Italy, Milan. Factory of Pirelli Bicocca. Couple of workers along a road inside the plant.

Blacksmiths, Southern Italy, 1950's
Locksmith Marino del Tronto - 1960's
Petro-chemical factory, group portrait, 1950's

Sunday, December 23, 2012

DEER Beret from Japan!

Just learned that the brand new Basque berets from Japan have arrived at Auckland Intl Airport
NZ-Customs and Christmas busyness permitting, they should come available later this week. 
When I grew up, 40 years ago in the Netherlands, Japanese goods were not considered compatible with anything European or American made. I remember a neighbour being the first convert to a Mazda in our neighbourhood, late 1960's, and that was not seen as a positive move by the rest of the street... 
Now we know better, of course. And even though I stubbornly continue driving a French car, I know that the Japanese equivalent is better, longer lasting and more reliable. And like so many things that the Japanese put their hands on, so it is with Basque berets (a popular headgear in Japan). These berets are extremely well made with great eye for detail. I have to confess that I have not seen any European or South American beret with a lining as nice as these Deer berets. 
Not cheap, unfortunately; depending on NZ Customs assessment (duties and taxes), they're likely to be between the 60 and 70 $-mark. But then, you'll have an extremely well made beret, which is not sold anywhere else outside Japan! To be continued later this week...

The Secret of the Red Cat

André is an actor, but unfortunately without a job. To earn some money, he plays for the entertainment of tourists in the Paris club "The Red Cat" for a sinister criminal.
He then gets to know Gloria, the pretty daughter of the American jeweller Jefferson. Gloria's father has just bought the famous "Halifax" diamonds. As the expensive piece of jewellery disappears, poor André is suspected. The gifted actor needs to take on some masks and go through many complexities to find the real culprit.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


A long post - it's not my usual self to copy someone else's post, but I thought this fitted in nicely with "the unemployment post" two days ago. I got to this post through the (top) picture; in the writer's eyes the quintessence of a French unemployed worker, I guess. What amuses me, is the response given by a visitor, a Frenchman, and a man to my heart. Enjoy:

"Lazy French Must Barely Work Slightly Longer
Please excuse the French for believing they lived in a free country and not some Russian gulag—obviously, they were mistaken. For the first time since France became civilized, its workers are expected to work until age 62.
Fun fact: since 1983, Frenchies have been able to retire at the youthful age of 60! (They also work 35 hours per week). This is due to the French economy's need for large numbers of pensioners to have time to write existentialist, world-weary memoirs. Yes, there's a "$40 billion in the pension program alone this year." But, counterpoint: French people don't want to work more."
"I always love comments from the Yanks about our continental lifestyle and work habits. You have to be European to understand our love of not working. Our approach is that people work to live, not live to work. You see, with our more humanistic view of the world, we don't see people solely as resources to be put to work. We view them as well, people.

People that should have enough money, security and free time to be comfortable and happy. I work for myself and in the 10 years I've been doing that I have yet to work a full year. In fact, I generally work during the winter months and then live in Spain for the beautiful 6 months of summer. And then go back to work. Never once have I missed working. Not for one fat second. There are plenty of other fun things to be done.
The point the French are making is that once they start to muck about with the retirement age, it will only continue to increase. That's why we are fighting so hard against this Anglo-Americanization drive which Europe's leaders are trying to force down our throats.

Maybe the question all you yanks should be asking yourself is why you have to work til you die and we get approximately 20 years off for good behaviour (since we live significantly longer than you on average - even with our love of good cheese, great wine and smoking!) We also get minimum 5 weeks of vacation a year and loads of public holidays. Oh, and all that over time you work in the States, we don't do that either. It's not laziness, it's called having a life. You should try it.
I guess the real question is why do you folks all just roll over, stick your ass in the air and say: Fuck me harder Walmart or GM or Starbucks (or where ever it is you work) every time they cut your pay or your benefits or your sick /vacation time instead of being a bit more French about things and try to fight for the things that matter to you?

You don't have to be so passive about it and what you maybe should learn from the French is that when you are just one person the companies have all the power, but united the people have the power. Our governments are there to serve and protect us, not the corporations."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Photographer Piotr Zbierski

Piotr Zbierski, from the series "pass by me"
Piotr Zbierski, born in 1987, has a master's degree from the Polish National Film School, which he attended from 2006 to 2012. Excerpts from his photo project "White Elephant", were on exhibition in Poland, Russia and Portugal.

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2012 (with some 2800 entries) set a new attendance record. Professional photographers from 101 countries took part in the competition. Most applications were from Germany, China and the USA. Members of the jury were: Bruce Gilden, Magnum photographer, Stephan Erfurt, Director of C / O Berlin, Valérie Fougeirol, Creative Director of the Magnum Gallery in Paris, Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Artistic Director of the Leica Gallery in Salzburg and Brigitte Schaller, Art Director of the magazine Leica Photography International.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Unemployed Life

Drew and Kellen might be unemployed but they certainly have an occupation. Filling their afternoons with questionable facts and idiotic banter, the two share their lives together despite their differences.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Charles Frammezelle

This is a man I can only feel instant sympathy and admiration for, and not because of his large beret and grand moustache.

Charles Frammezelle, aka 'Moustache', is a 50-year-old unemployed Frenchman wearing a large Basque beret and sporting a good sized moustache.
Moustache takes care of refugees, voluntary. There were times when he brought up to 30 people into his small council flat in Calais (France).
The infamous Sangatte Red Cross centre near Calais, in northern France, housed around 67,000 migrants between 1999 and 2002.
It shut down after a deal between France and the UK government, which saw it as a haven for people-smugglers and a base for illegal entry into the UK.
Arrested, Moustache has been let off without sentence by a French court. The court did find them guilty of helping illegal immigrants in an organised group and of allowing their own names to be used to transfer funds on somebody else's behalf.
Frammezelle told French radio: "I was hosting refugees. Most of the time they were minors.
"I couldn't stand knowing they were living outside without shelter when it was pouring with rain, when it was very cold in the winter."
After the hearing, they vowed to continue their activities in order to pressure local authorities to do more.
A group of around 50 protesters demonstrated in front of the court, carrying banners which said: "Solidarity is not a crime."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Berets from France

Ah yes, some good news from France: Le Petit Basque for the children, a true hunter's beret and the classic PeBeO at a very affordable price.
Since you one can't be too young starting to wear a beret, I now stock "Le Petit Basque"a traditional Béret Basque, made by the world's oldest beret manufacturer Blancq-Olibet. These 250mm diameter berets are available in black, navy and red, made of 100% pure wool with a satin lining and it's own "Le Petit Basque" embroidered label. And, as with any quality French beret, they are impermeable!  
 Also new is the hunter's beret Beruetta in dark orange. Simillar to the Beruetta in loden-green (the beret of the Chasseurs Ardennais), but in a colour that ensures that you won't be targeted by a trigger happy fellow hunter. If you happen to live in a country like New Zealand (with dozens of hunting accidents every year), you'll know how to value that !
Wanting to offer a more affordable beret with headband in the range of quality French berets, I now stock the Béret PeBeO - the most economic French beret with headband at South Pacific Berets. A great every-day-wear beret, impermeable and available in two diameters (9 and 10.5 pouces, resp. 256 and 291mm). Excellent value for money.
And last, the NIEBLA and Bakarra Excellence berets are well stocked again in a larger variety of sizes!

Betty Anne Pennier's Native Canadian Berets

Betty Ann Pennier is a Coast Salish (BC, Canada) fashion designer and I found her beautiful berets at the Turtle Island Gallery in Kelowna.
I haven't found much information about Betty Ann. From the pictures on the gallery web site, it seems that she uses Basque berets and attaches traditional symbols in (suede) leather and wool.
Interestingly, her artworks come at very affordable prices.