Friday, April 21, 2017

Public Art In Chicago In, Around & Underground The Cultural Center

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) have designated 2017 the "Year of Public Art". MindsiMedia is a big fan of the city's extensive collection of public art. ChiTownView has recently added a half dozen new videos all highlighting art spanning over a hundred years all in around and underground from the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Cultural Center is a pretty amazing place and until recently I've walked past hundreds of time without going in. Located on Michigan Ave. between Washington & Randolph it's right across the street from Millenium Park. It was built in 1897 at a time when cities tried to outdo each other in constructing magnificent public spaces. For most of the first 100 years it served as Chicago's main library. Then in 1991 the Harold Washington Center opened on the south end of the loop and took over that function. Thus the CulturalCenter was born.

The building was designed by and it's architectural style is neoclassical with Italian Renaissance elements and is construction materials includes granite, marble, mahogany and bronze. Each year it holds hundreds of art exhibitions, hosts concert, screens films and much more. It is also home to two stunning stained glass domes. There is the well known world's largest Tiffany dome located off the Washington entrance. That's what first brought me into this building. 

A truly magnificent work of art is it not?  But there is another large stained glass dome that most people aren't aware of. It's on the north end of the center in G.A.R. Hall. Here is a look at that one.

From now until the end of July the Cultural Center is hosting two very interesting displays of African American public art. The first is a photo exhibition on The Wall Of Respect which was a groundbreaking urban mural that was created on Chicago's south side in 1967.

The second display consists of thirty two 10' X 4' double doors painted in acrylic that hung inside Malcolm X College until it was recently demolished. The artist Eugene Eda took two years to complete this collection.

To continue our exploration of this bounty of public art we go outside and across the street to Millenium Park to explore the "tire art" of Chakaia Booker.

And for the final stop on our one block tour we venture down into Chicago's series of underground pedways where we find an awesome display of gorgeous American Victorian stained glass. It can be found right outside of Macy's which is right next to the Cultural Center.

So there you have it six examples of Chicago's vast collection of public art all within a thousand feet of one another. ChiTownView has dozens of videos with more statues, murals etc. We collected them in the playlist Public Art; Statues, Fountains, Mosaic, Murals, Street Art etc.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Twenty Years Of Las Vegas Neon

I've heard neon called liquid light in the night and I think that's a perfect way to describe it.Some of my earliest childhood memories are being out after dark and seeing some beautiful signs like the Magikist lips or Skips Drive In. Anyway I have hundreds of Polaroid photos of neon signs, mostly from the Chicago area. About ten years ago when I built my web portal I posted some of my photos but haven't really done a whole lot since then. Recently I've gotten serious about organizing and scanning my Polaroids and putting some of them up for sale. Also the web site is now getting an update.

Starting with an updated Vegas neon area because Las Vegas is like the Vatican, Mecca or the Louvre of neon. It's a city covered with neon signs some famous and some not. I've only been able to make the pilgrimage three times with three different cameras; a Polaroid SX-70, Polaroid Spectra and an HP digital camera. So there's a page for each of the camera's as well as some videos posted.

In the 1980's I made my first foray to the city of (neon) lights it was at the end of the classic period before Fremont St. was covered and the strip still had some of the classic casinos operating. This gallery has more than 30 SX-70 photos. To visit this gallery click here.

I returned to Las Vegas in the late 90's and only got about a dozen shots before my Polaroid Spectra camera gave out. Click here to check it out.
In 2005 I made my last visit to Vegas armed with an HP digital camera and got a fair number of shots at the Neon Museum. See more here.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The "Flesh" Series Where Sex & Violence Collide In A 60's Serial Killer Trilogy By Michael & Roberta Findlay

On our web portal we have a page called Welcome To The Sinema. It is chock full of vintage shorts and full length sex films of a NON pornographic nature. A varied group that includes a page on Bettie Page, the topless attractions at the 1939 world's fair in New York and our newest offering(s) a trio of feature films known as the "flesh" trilogy.

Michael Findlay (1938–1977), and his wife Roberta Findlay, directed and produced numerous sexploitation movies. They were part of a group of New York filmmakers including; Joseph Sarno, Joseph P. Mawra, and Lou Campa who combined mixed violence and sex (often kinky) creating a genre known as roughies. One that went mainstream (kind of) in the 70's with films like "Last House On The Left" and "I Spit On Your Grave". Sometimes he would direct under the alias Julian Marsh and act in his own films billed as Robert West. His wife Roberta (a.k.a. Anna Riva) was the cinematographer, co-writer, and supporting actress for many of their films together.

The couple is mostly known for the "flesh" trilogy. Starting with The Touch of Her Flesh and the two sequels, The Curse of Her Flesh and The Kiss of her Flesh. They tell the tale of a cuckolded gun dealer named Richard Jennings (played by Findlay) who is disfigured in a car accident after finding his wife in bed with another man. In recovery, Jennings comes to generalize his hatred of his wife to promiscuous women in general; after he is released, Jennings goes on a killing spree, murdering prostitutes and strippers with a variety of unique implements, including poison-tipped rose thorns, blow darts, a crossbow, a scimitar, and a buzzsaw. Although he would appear to die at the end of the first two films he would pop back up for more fun & games.

The Touch of Her Flesh
The Curse of Her Flesh

                                       The Curse of Her Flesh

Another of his films that is noteworthy for it's star power is Satan's Bed. It was made in 1965 before the Flesh films and amongst the players in this hot mess is Yoko Ono! Also known as “Satan's Hot Bed” this movie, like all truly bad thrash, is two unrelated films spliced together in a cinematic marriage that produces this masterpiece.

After the “Flesh” series Findlay continued to make films about perverse sexuality and violence. Among them are; A Thousand Pleasures , The Ultimate Degenerate, The Closer to the Bone the Sweeter the Meat, Funk, a Yeti slasher movie called Shriek of the Mutilated and a Manson murder homage Slaughter, the 1971 film that, after further contributions from Allan Shackleton, became Snuff (1976), the namesake of the fictional snuff film genre.

Ironically enough Michael Findlay's death in 1977 was gruesome, he was decapitaed by a helicopters rotary blade in an accident on top of the Pan Am Building.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Great Chicago Fire 145th Anniversary

October 8th is the 145th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. We've posted about this event a couple of times and recently we've uploaded a couple of new fire related videos on ChiTownView. It's been a while since we've had a new post so it seemed like a good event to start writing again.

In January of 2014 we offered a look at what Chicago looked like before the great fire. It includes an interactive map where locations are linked to a photo of what that spot looked like. Pretty neat you can check it out here.

A year before in January of 2013 we had one of our more poplar posts which was also fire related. In it there was a map showing the extent of the fire and then an exploration of the theory that the Chicago fire was part of a larger series of blazes across the midwest touched off by a meteor shower. You can read that post by clicking here.

Now on to more current business. Earlier this year while wandering around Chicago's Old Town neighborhood I came across one of the fire relief cottages. These were meant to be temporary structures to house the tens of thousands of homeless that the fire produced. For a hundred bucks you got some land as well as the plans and materials to build these small cottages. Kind of a 19th century version of the Katrina mobile homes. At any rate this little pace is one of last ones left.

Then while looking at photos on the National Archive I found a bunch of post fire photos showing the devastation the fire caused. So I whipped up the video/slideshow, that even has a poem written about this conflagration, you see below.

Finally there is this odd little Chicago Fire related video. The fire (or it's recreation) was an attraction at Freedom Land a defuct New York amusement park. Visitors could help put out the blaze. I kid you not. The part with the fire in it starts at around 1:10

So that's our roundup of this great event in Chicago history.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sex, Trains & Surrealism

Our most recent uploads to MindsiMediaHome casts a wide net and comes up with three winners. There's a spicy Cuban dish by the name of Amalia Aguila with a wicked dance...

... and a gorgeous movie  about trains called "This Is My Railroad". They were both made in the late 1940's by legendary exploitation film maker Russ Meyer.

Our third upload "Dreams That Money Can Buy" features an army of surrealist legends in this 1947 experimental film by Hans Richter. Collaborators included Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Darius Milhaud and Fernand L├ęger. The film won the Award for the Best Original Contribution to the Progress of Cinematography at the 1947 Venice Film Festival.For much more on this one of a kind film check out the rest of the Wikipedia entry.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Topless At The 1939 World's Fair & Bridgete Bardots Debut

At you will find, among other things, the Sinema our collection of vintage risque videos that are too hot for YouTube. It grew out a YouTube station we had called SilkSpot that was closed by YT because of one too many nipple slips. A lot of the clips have been had the audio updated with our own original soundscapes or music we've come across that fit the mood if you will.

We've had two recent uploads. The first probes into some of the fairly shocking exhibits at the 1939 New York World's Fair. I mean there were half naked women all over the place not like the fairly tame offerings that the more modern fairs offered. And while were on the topic what ever happened to world fair's? Are there no more visions of the future.

Anyway my favorite was Salvador Dail's"Dream Of Venus"  presentation, think about THAT for a minute. There were topless bathing beauties and his paramour Gala out in front acting as barker. Check out all the action at our "The 1939 New York World'Sin Fair" page at The Sinema.


To See Much More Click Here

Our latest offering is a late 1940's French strip tease clip that features (supposedly) the first film role for French sex bomb Bridgette Bardot. The clip is about ten minutes long and has a half dozen scenes of ladies disrobing that are a little more imaginative than your standard stripper film. My favorite is one I call "Whip Tease".

The other night I watched the final and I do mean final, since it's been canceled, episode of HBO's Vinyl and all I can say is perfect. Probably the best TV series or film about rock and roll and it ended just where it needed to. Because the best rock and roll doesn't have a long shelf life. Elvis made most of his best music before he went in the army. Jimi Hendrix and the Doors and the Beatles are revered because they weren't around long enough to make really shitty albums and go on yet another nostalgia trip tour. The Rolling Stones have been around for fifty years but all their best stuff came out in the first ten. Hell I think Vinyl is the best thing Mick Jagger's been associated with since “Exile On Main Street. The Sex Pistols made one album and that was all that was really needed. I could go on and on but rock and roll ain't fine wine it don't get better with age.

YouTube or whoever won't let me post any actual videos from Vinyl here so I'm just going with some music from the period featured in the show.

It should follow then that a tv series about rock and roll shouldn't turn into a soap opera that goes on and on and on. Sure it's about the music business but at it's core it's about rock and roll. It starts with the New York Dolls and ends with the MC5 and in between there's plenty of sex, drugs and other bad behavior that goes with rock and roll. Vinyl isn't perfect because rock isn't about perfection it's about being in your face. I started out loving it then would kind of go back and forth depending on how far they got away from the music but the last episode summed it all up brilliantly I thought.

Thirty hell forty years ago I was out livin the life on a Saturday night now I'm sitting at home watching the remake on TV.