Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dear Sweet Harry, Lynn Jenner, and Annie Leibowitz

A satisfying day, because artistic - listening to the Klezmer Rebs and Lynn reading her poetry, which she did differently - very slow pace of speech, talking clearly and well, good physical pose, the music just right, helping us to stay with the story and carrying us to the next part...I didn't recognise the poems in spite of having read Dear Sweet Harry twice...some of the poems I know from before they were published, and mostly I did not recognise them in this seemed perfect in the sense that no word was superfluous,  the pace was right, and our attention was teased in a pleasant way, almost like a tickle, it was so light and subtle.

Listening to the Klezmer Rebs always makes me wish that I could be there with them, singing the harmonies along. Helen M came too and it was fun having here there with us, enjoying herself.

After we dropped Helen home, we picked up a movie at the local Video store - one of them was an Annie Leibowitz documentary. Some of it a bit hagiographic, but showed an important moment: as a young woman she photographs some pop idols together, a bunch of them for the cover of Rolling Stone and that's all they were - a bunch of people standing against RS's traditional white background - and Annie's mentor said she was angry - or was it disappointed? - she told her: "You had a great opportunity, and you didn't make anything of this!". I felt cross because she didn't say what she meant by 'making something of this'.
But then the documentary showed what happened with Annie's photography, and it was stunning - Bette Midler starring in the Rose - lying on a bed of roses, half covered in them (all thorns removed for the shoot), Woopie Goldberg  in her milkbath - 'emerging from whiteness' - the Blues Brothers with their faces painted a lavendery kind of blue. Very interesting. Also many stunning shots. And an insight into the obsessiveness of her work - constantly with a camera, taking immense trouble. The taking trouble was what many people commented on, and with it a kind of pityless-ness, they complained about being put in uncomfortable situations - in cold water was one - and being made to suffer while she took shots...

It made me want to write.