Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Chrysalis-Mahler Part One

(Took yesterday off for a birthday celebration. As I get more knowledgeable I am going back and noting which Mahler symphonies are used in which part of the film.)

Gustav Mahler is as great as Mozart or Bach was,  perhaps even more so. Ken's film Savage Messiah which we'll cover later was stunning but I think I love Mahler more. That is saying quite a bit as Savage Messiah is a masterpiece.  The magnitude of what Mahler's music is and who the man was is conveyed within every frame. He is not only the bridge between Romanticism and Modernism but he himself was a bridge between old world and post industrial revolution Western Europe. I almost need to wait to watch Mahler again, I don't want to be reminded that I don't live in such a beautiful world of forests, conservatories, demi glasses of chilled Gewürztraminer and cascade houses.

First things first-Georgina Hale owns as Alma Mahler. Robert Powell rules too but without Hale for him to play off of this film would not hit you as hard emotionally. Powell is a great actor, severely underrated, but he's also gifted with insanely fine and beautiful features that most women would envy (he played Christ) and an intrinsically graceful carriage. I can think of no one better to play Mahler and he makes it look easy.   But Hale must fight genetics and she triumphs. There is no A List actress in Hollywood today or then, who could play this role-not Nicole Kidman. Not even Glenda Jackson or Helen Mirren. Georgina Hale's very tiny breasts, thin lips and large forehead are insanely sexy. She's also a natural dancer and her voice crackles simultaneously with humiliation, self confidence and passive aggression. Mahler is her film. By the end she had been so many different women: loyal wife, adulterous wife, failed artist, desolate mother, tormentor and best friend that we know Alma Mahler is real. 

Watch Alma as Mahler's shadow of death. 8:12

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A great blog post on Mahler

Here is a beautifully written piece I came across on Mahler by a blogger, photographer and scholar named Thomas Pindelski.

Life With Mahler contains one of the best assessments of the film I've read thus far.

"Life without him is not living.
How can anyone live without Mahler? Standing at the cusp between the classical romanticism of Tchaikovsky and Schubert and the atonality of Stravinsky and Berg, he changed music as we know it. Whether through his beautiful songs or his massive symphonies, one’s understanding and appreciation of nature is raised an order of magnitude through listening to his works." Thomas Pindelski.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Prelude to Mahler & Ken Russell's Composers

(Before we dive into watching MAHLER I thought it would  be useful to have some background on who he actually was. Many of these composers were simply names to me, having grown up loving mostly Rossini and  Beethoven. Tchaikovsky's music was the only one of Ken's film subjects who I'd heard extensively. I'm literally in Kindergarten when it comes to the history of classical music so please bear with me.)

We tend to think of composers as 16th, 17th and 18th century but as seen below, many of the greatest walked among us relatively recently. (Seems like being born in the summer does have its advantages as well.)


Franz Ritter von Liszt              (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886)
Wilhelm Richard Wagner        (22 May 1813  – 13 February 1883)
Anton Bruckner                      (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896) 
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky         (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893)
Sir Edward William Elgar        (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934)
Gustav Mahler                        (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911)
Frederick Delius                     (29 January 1862 – 10 June 1934)
Claude-Achille Debussy          (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918)
Richard Strauss                       (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949)
Ralph Vaughan Williams          (12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958)
Béla Bartók                            (25 March 1881 – September 26, 1945)
Bohuslav Martinů                    (December 8, 1890 – August 28, 1959)
Sergei  Prokofiev                    (23 April 1891– 5 March 1953)
Gordon Jacob                        (5 July 1895 – 8 June 1984)
Georges Delerue                    (12 March 1925 – March 20, 1992)




A Brief Biography of Gustav Mahler:


Born in the village of Kalischt in what was once the Austria-Hungarian Empire and now the Czech Republic, Mahler was true Bohemian and a German speaking Jewish one at that. He recalled years later always "feeling as an outsider". As a composer, he serves as a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the Modernism of the early 20th century. While in his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of relative neglect which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Nazi regime. After 1945 his music was re-discovered and championed by a new generation of listeners; Mahler then became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers, a position he has sustained to this day.

Mahler was the oldest of six out of fourteen surviving children. His father, Bernhard, was a tavern owner and his mother, Marie, was the daughter of a soap maker. Shortly after Mahler was born, he and his parents moved to Iglau, Moravia. His father was able to open a successful tavern and brewery which allowed him to support Mahler’s musical ambitions.


Childhood:

Because Mahler lived close to the town square where frequent concerts were given by the military band, he developed a taste for music at a very early age. Iglau was then a thriving commercial town of 20,000 people where Gustav was introduced to music through street songs, dance tunes, folk melodies, and the trumpet calls and marches of the local military band. All of these elements would later contribute to his mature musical vocabulary. He learned various songs from Catholic school friends and received lessons from local musicians. It wasn't long after his father's purchase of the piano when Mahler became proficient at playing  becoming a child prodigy.

Teenage Years:

As a result of Mahler's poor performances in school, his father sent him to audition at the Vienna Conservatory. Mahler was accepted in 1875 under Julius Epstein with whom he studied piano. While in music school, Mahler quickly turned to composition as his primary study. In 1877, Mahler enrolled in Vienna University where he became fervently interested in great literary works and philosophy. Biographer Jonathan Carr says that the composer's head was "not only full of the sound of Bohemian bands, trumpet calls and marches, Bruckner chorales and Schubert sonatas. It was also throbbing with the problems of philosophy and metaphysics he had thrashed out..." Sadly many of Maler's earliest attempts at compositions did not survive this era as he destroyed them himself.

Early Adult Years :

At the young age of 21, Mahler received a conduction job in the Landestheater in Liabach. He conducted over 50 pieces including his first opera Il Trovatore. In 1883, Mahler moved to Kassel, signed a contract and worked several years as 'Royal Musical and Choral Director' - it may have been a fancy title, but he still had to report to the resident Kapellmeister. From 1885-91, Mahler worked in Liepzig, Prague, and Budapest.

Mid Adult Years:

In March of 1891, Mahler became chief conductor at the Hamburg Stadttheater. While in Hamburg, Mahler finally finished his second symphony in 1895.At the Stadttheater Mahler introduced numerous new operas: Verdi's Falstaff, Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel, and works by Smetana. However, he was forced to resign his post with the subscription concerts after poor financial returns and an ill-received interpretation of his re-scored Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Mahler had made it clear that his ultimate goal was an appointment in Vienna, and from 1895 onward was manoeuvring, with the help of influential friends, to secure the directorship of the Vienna Hofoper.He overcame the bar that existed against the appointment of a Jew to this post by what may have been a pragmatic conversion to Roman Catholicism in February 1897. Two months later Mahler was appointed to the Hofoper, provisionally as a staff conductor with the title of Kapellmeister. Also, in the same year, Mahler's younger brother shot himself. Since his parents had died several years before, Mahler became the head of the household. To protect his younger sisters, he moved them to Hamburg to live with him.

Late Adult Years:

After his appointment was confirmed in October 1897 Mahler remained in post until his resignation in November 1907. In the ten years for which he held office he directed the productions of more than 100 different operas, of which 33 had not previously been staged at the Hofoper and three were world premières. Another 55 were presented in either entirely new or substantially revised productions. In all, almost 3,000 performances took place at the Hofoper during Mahler's tenureAs the new director at the Hofoper Theater, his daring, provocative, and controversial performances attracted great numbers to the theatre and many press reviews. In 1907 and 1910, Mahler conducted the New York Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra. A year later, after returning to Vienna, Mahler died from bacterial endocarditis.

Selected Works by Gustav Mahler:

Symphonic Works

  • Symphony no. 1 - D Major - 1884
  • Symphony no. 2 - c minor - 1885
  • Symphony no. 3 - d minor - 1893
  • Symphony no. 4 - G Major - 1899
  • Symphony no. 5 - c sharp minor - 1901
  • Symphony no. 6 - a minor - 1903
  • Symphony no. 7 - b minor - 1904
  • Symphony no. 8 - E flat Major - 1906
  • Symphony no. 9 - D Major - 1908
  • Symphony no. 10 (unfinished) - f sharp minor - 1910 
Sources:  About.com Classical Music. 

and Wikipoopia

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MAHLER



MAHLER (1974).

We will journey back within Ken's oeuvre to cover Elgar and the BBC Monitor films but for now, I feel it is appropriate that we arrive at one of Ken's colourfully sensuous cinematic masterpieces. Within Gustav Mahler's fairly short life span is the example of the artist as
1. Cultural bridge
2. Brutal perfectionist
3. Shape-shifter  (not to be misconstrued as a "preening dilettante")

Mahler may be known as a composer but in reality composition was not his first love- conducting was.   His own œuvre is considered small by classical standards and excepting for one piano quartet, confined to the genres of symphony and song. His ten symphonies are very large-scale presentations, several of which employ soloists and choirs in addition to augmented orchestral forces. Upon their respective premières, Gustav Mahler's works were considered controversial and were slow to receive critical and popular approval; an exception was the triumphant première of his Eighth Symphony in 1910.

I was fortunate to see the Bath Symphony and Bath Festival Chorus perform Mahler's 8th on my birthday May 29th, 2000, even sitting in for the dress rehearsal at Bath station. I had just come from the Lake District ( Derwentwater and Borrowdale where much of Mahler was shot)  I was thinking a lot about Ken and buying his biographies so it really was a full circle moment. The sound was phenomenal!

This entire next week will be all Mahler.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Delius and The Artist as Survivalist


(Due to the world events of the past few days, I took a few days off to try to make sense of the senseless. I am thankful for the peace and sanctity that myself and my friends and family enjoy. If you live in London then Amy Winehouse is like family and we lost a daughter on Saturday. If you believed as I once did that Northern Europe had attained within it's borders the most peaceful society in the world then Norway is a paradise now lost. So much freedom was just shattered for so many and yet through art and the examination of what great art is, we begin to find solid ground amidst the unravelling of the human experience. A way to regroup away from the static via a journey through the artist's way. Back now to Ken Russell who is our guide.)

(Contains film plot spoilers)

If "Delius, Song of Summer" conveyed one important lesson to me it was that certain artistic geniuses are survivors and others are not. We think of all the great artists dying young but this simply is not the case. I think the single focus will to continue onward in the face of depression, self hatred, heart break, addiction, hounding and even being rejected by the public is perhaps preordained by nature. It is at least unexplained as much as being gifted is.

Delius was willing to live through the horrible and debilitating disease of Syphilis so that he could continue composing. His living spirit was bolstered by being demanding, rude and annoyingly honest. A German minder would haul his usually ungrateful ass upstairs to comfort and safety when he said so. He never faltered when it came to composing. He never faltered when being a supreme and wholly charming egotist too. I believe it was Delius's super human focus on his art that led Fenby to be such a harsh critic of his own work. Perhaps he felt he could never measure up to Delius or perhaps he simply felt his talent was put to better use as an amanuensis par excellence. This is a shame, as Fenby sadly destroyed many of his early compositions which would have undoubtedly found an audience today.

Jelka Rosen, Delius's wife proves my recently made point about gender differences in artists. Unlike Delius, Amy Winehouse was alone when she died. Yes, a minder was in the house but no one lay next to Amy in bed to perhaps realize she'd stopped breathing in time to save her life. Delius lived to be 72 and Amy 27. Male artists have women who will do anything for them and be there till the end, NEVER walking away or leaving for too long. Few female artists get that luxury as most men are too selfish and yes, too sensible to live in the shadow of a crazed genius.

But if art knows no frontiers than it also knows no pity and no vanity in death. We cry, we mourn, we pity but subconsciously we know they were in part geniuses because they were not afraid of death. All great artists have regret and fear-fear is an essential component to life and even lust and romance-but when faced with paying the highest price of all we want our artists as heroes or anti-heroes, never as martyrs. After a quick review I realized that for my most cherished icons of artistic genius, a long life has been won. Paul Robeson, Pete Townshend, Sophia Loren and Ken Russell.

Robeson faced down the destruction of his global fame, his art and then his personality via electroshock at the hands of four doctors all later proved to be CIA contractors. He lived the last decade of his life in Philadelphia, a melancholy and weakened man but a defiant and unapologetic one. Outliving all the henchmen of the red scare including J.Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy himself. As far as battles go that would kill the less hearty, Pete Townshend has competed only with himself to all manner of results. Looking astonishingly younger than his years despite suffering many of the same addictions Winehouse did (and recovering) one never knows what he'll do or say next. I do think he'd like to live forever if he could.

Sophia Loren continues to break new ground regarding how sexually enticing a woman can be as she ages in the eyes of media and a global patriarchy that still wants women terrified of ageing. As a very young child living in extreme poverty she living through the bombing of Italy and the Four Days of Naples uprising. War and death was a daily reality of her childhood not an imagined concept as it is for most of us.

Ken too has survived and at 84, looks to outlive everyone. He drinks champagne, enjoys his chocolate when his wife Lisi says so and seems to have magical genes. I think he's survived because as he's put it, he's always been a voyeur. Watching and not joining in is a lifesaver. Some make the back ground music for the soundtrack of the world while Russell has made the actual films that accompany the music. It sounds simplistic but hear me out. Ken said himself he never pushes his working class background, does not appear too political or to esoteric. His genius is to bring the world, it's follies and it's colours to life; the geniuses like Delius back from past, the human experience eyeball to eyeball with our own. I could see Ken being just as feisty today as Delius was, with a line of hopeful amanuenses stretching around the block were he making a new film.

One last key element of all truly great artists (survivalists or not) is mystery. Despite my devotion as a loyal uber fan there is a great deal I will never know about the lives of the artists I revere. They will remain people whose "coats have thousands of pockets". It goes without saying or explanation why this is so critical.

Amy Winehouse had that too.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

...us Brits!



"I did have a couple of brushes with the police-once for jaywalking in Westwood and once for driving too slowly in the fast lane. Both times I was let off with a caution after the cops heard my accent. They think us Brits are barmy, out there, with our bangers and mash and croquet and cream teas. And yet they don't know us at all. Mention the word 'English' and you'll get a muffin. That's our greatest contribution the the American way of life-the English muffin. England is an eccentric little place best known for its Beefeaters, Royal Family, beef tea and Gilbert and Sullivan. And whenever I saw rare flashes of England through the TV looking glass, that's how it appeared to em-a dusty character from HMS Pinafore and Alice in Wonderland, endlessly parading around in circles and squabbling at some Mad Hatter tea party."

-Ken Russell on his stay in the United States during making of Altered States.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Delius will never win the loving husband award: Art and gender differences



Wow. Talk about your rude starter husband! Delius gives unsolicited advice and unabashed humiliating treatment to his loving and devoted wife who is pushing his ungrateful carcass about. It is as if she's not even there but he knows she is!

Sadly many artists CAN'T be in relationship-much less a marriage. They are simply too narcissistic, too moody and too busy to be decent partners. There are more great male artists when one looks at history as a whole primarily because men won't put up with being mistreated BY an artist. Whereas many women, once they have children, have no real choice if they expect some kind of family structure. Men are not able to have children so they can be free. Also many woman choose to follow artistic men around, be there shadow, blog about them everyday etc It is rather fun!

I respect many a crazy artist- be they camp director (Russ Meyer), rock (David Lee Roth) or A-List actor (George Clooney) who does not have any children. That shows serious self reflection.

Ken Russell has eight children, six boys and two girls and in his auto-biography he admitted his failings. He can't have been all bad as they've all added him on Facebook.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Delius for Dinner


In this scene Delius tries to pull rank even though he's already the centre of the world. Max Adrian would have been given every major award if this had been done on the big screen. Old people are unapologetic manipulators and love to be the centre of eveything (hey, most of them have earned the right!)Fenby does not even get a chance to respond or even talk. When he finally does he finds he's been pre-empted...

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And now.....

Monday, July 18, 2011

Anyone else remember Father Russell ?



(I guess you could say NSFW but actually it really is very tame. Still, the mood and theme would most likely offend your curious tattle tail workmate frenemies far more than actual porn would)

Fenby has had to navigate through his new part within the script of Delius's life and he's trying to get back to "Catholic base camp." Watch Gables' Fenby carefully. He comes into the Cathedral like he's co-owner. He's been so patient with the angry blind atheist genius yet he's back where he belongs, albeit for only a few moments. For the life of me I can't figure out if Ken is speaking Latin, talking dirty or simply making indecipherable sounds on purpose while he's "on the job" as they say in the East End. The sound quality is sharp and recalls listening through a wall and wondering what is going. Is that two people having sex or just talking? Both? Neither?

Like the evil Circe woman earlier in the forest, Ken's fancy woman is mysterious with a mean edge (she did just get pre-empted after all). She dashes off, her wooden heels echoing. At 00:40 Ken Russell rises from the floor, business as usual, and we see evidence of his late but dedicated Ballet training. His priestly bearing is actually that of an older, mirror image of Fenby's posture and attitude. Fenby doesn't flinch but he's simmering with cross resignation. Nowhere in Delius's bohemian forest is really safe for a Catholic boy from Yorkshire but he goes through the motions.

Fenby has to keep it bottled, he signed on after all.


I found this last night and feel it goes with this post despite being unrelated to Ken's work. "Don't Pinch Me Padre" written by Joe Fitz this song uses photo images to look back at a time of innocence and the effect of the Vatican child abuse sex crimes on his song writing.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Delius Song of Summer

"I want you to imagine we are sitting on the cliffs of heather and looking out over the sea. The sustained chords in the high strings suggest the clear sky and stillness and calm of the scene...You must remember that figure that comes in the violins when the music becomes more animated. I'm introducing it there to suggest the gentle rise and fall of the waves. The flutes suggest a seagull gliding by."

-Frederick Delius





(posting very late tonight, still coming down off of LoveBox with my husband!)

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Florida Suite By Delius and Women in Love


These two clips go great together. This won't be a spoiler if you have never seen Women In Love, easily considered by the mainstream, Ken Russell's masterpiece (for me this ties with Savage Messiah) and should (along with savage Messiah) be the first films any Ken Russell novice sees. I took one newbie friend to "The Music Lovers" followed by "The Devils" at The Castro but that was REALLY jumping in... and they loved it.


With so much bad news always coming from Florida one mustn't forget Big Cat Rescue and the millions of wonderful people in the sunshine state. When Delius was becoming something of a Trustrafarian high on Ibsen and art so his father sent him to America to manage an orange plantation in Florida. Delius ended up high on Negro spirituals and Black workers singing and never got in the mold. His time spent there was later recalled in his work, Florida Suite. Florida Suite is comprised of four movements: Daybreak, By the River, Sunset, and At Night. This video is "By The River." The Youtuber has accompanying photographs representing the people and places that made up the Old Florida that existed before the invention of Air Conditioning contributed to the population explosion that so changed the state.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Delius' Irmelin Prelude for Leiby Kletzy תפלת הדרך




In memory of nine year old Leiby Kletzy. תפלת הדרך

A good luck prayer in Hebrew for a traveller. Safe passage to this young boy who was taken so shockingly from the world this past week. May he rest in peace and all the little boys and girls of the world be safe.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Pretty Vodyanoy or that neighbour in the forest in the Song of Summer

In Ken Russell's "Song of Summer" which we are discussing this week, there are many incredible moody and uncomfortable moments which make the viewer feel as if they are actually living in the Delius home. One spooky moment takes place outside the home in the surrounding French forest where Fenby is abruptly stopped by a woman hidden by some trees. If you scroll through to 45:00 you'll find it and it won't spoil the plot.

The woman is languidly persistent in her questioning of Fenby, sensual and really creepy. She wastes no time in being invasive and manipulative. She reminds me of the Slavic water spirit Vodyanoy. Though she's on land she has that same stealth. One worries that Christopher Gables might be whisked away by the ankles and never seen again.
Vodyanoy (or Vodyanye) are wicked treacherous Slavic water creatures. They may assume any form they choose. They live in fresh water. They never die but do grow older at the waning moon and younger as it waxes every month. Whenever the Vodyanye do manage to drown someone the take them to serve them as slaves in their magical underwater palace of crystal.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Can you say amanuensis? Got Delius?

Amanuensis (pronounced /əˌmænjuːˈɛnsɪs/) is a Latin word adopted in various languages, including English, for certain persons performing a function by hand, either writing down the words of another or performing manual labour. Literally translated it means "manual labourer".

You'll want to think about this term carefully as it describes one of the most interesting characters in all of Ken Russell's films: Eric Fenby. From 1928 to 1934, Eric Fenby was the amanuensis and the eyes for the composer Frederick Delius. If you are not familiar with Delius just as I wasn't before watching Ken Russell's "Song of Summer" (1968) you are really in for a treat. One who is not a classical music expert listens to a classical music station and can usually pick out Bach, Mozart and of course Beethoven but then other names pop up who are just as pivotal and they draw a blank. With Ken Russell's film catalogue, you triple your knowledge of composers and artists.

I don't want to give too much more away only that this film is beautifully photographed, Paul Robeson's signature song makes an appearance and Ken Russell himself gets down (literally) in church. Eric Fenby (a composer himself) is played by the marvellous Russell perennial, Christopher Gables in his debut role, giving what I feel is beyond Oscar worthy acting. He had previously been a dancer with the Royal Ballet and it shows. The real life Eric Fenby himself was a consultant for the film and requested to leave the set during rehearsals once because it flooded him with so many personal memories. He broke down after watching the final film and took the better part of year to get over the feelings that he said he'd repressed about their time together. When you see the film you'll understand why. Max Adrian as Delius is that man that scared you as a kid and is as manipulative as only an elderly person can be. He did not break my heart nor make me feel for his character's issues but I was in tears at the end.
One of Ken's most well received works. PLEASE WATCH, you will be moved. I'll be discussing "Song of Summer" all this week. 111 minutes long and the print transfer to You Tube is great.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Ken Russell's Indecent Exposure

He can sing too!

 "And Ken Russell really did it this time. He stripped the lid of respectability off the Ursuline convent in Loudon, France. He exposed Cardinal Richelieu as a political schemer. He destroyed our illusions about Louis XIII. We are filled with righteous indignation as we bear witness to the violation of the helpless nuns, which is all the more horrendous because, as Russell fearlessly reveals, all the nuns, without exception were young and stacked."  - Roger Ebert's review of The Devils, 1971


Oh Roger, you wrote how many Russ Meyer film scripts? Besides as proven in my last post, we all know that Ken Russell is not a big breast fetishist like you and your best friend Russ. Furthermore a few pauses on the VCR (The Devils is hard to find on DVD) reveals that Ken's Ursuline convent nuns comprise a wondrous assortment of  breasts in ALL sizes and shapes.

To paraphrase the great historian Martin Duberman, a biographer's job is to tell the truth to the extent that inevitable gaps in the evidence and subjective distortion will allow for it. The biographer is not responsible for how others manipulate that truth to serve agendas of their own. So it is safe to state that those who despise Ken Russell for exposing in blazing glorious colour, the more unsavoury sides of European high art, religion and history will always manage to find grounds for justifying their hostility and worse not giving him the credit he so justly deserves as an artist.


I was fortunate to take courses from a well respected film professor whom never mentioned Russell once amongst the many world class directors he introduced us to. When I mentioned the subject of "Ken Russell the stylist" he made little more than exasperated sounds. The world's top film critics have uttered far worse.

Yet even some Brits who feel deeply impressed by Ken's homages to England and who give kudos to his genius experience discomfort over his unwillingness during the Altered States era to become a commercial giant, making money hand over fist. Like the trustafarians who now come out in droves to Columbia Road, Hoxton, Brick Lane and Spitalfields each weekend and then whisk home to Belgravia, Chelsea and Kensington, they want the "street cred" that Ken brings but don't want to look at his truth.  This same attitude can be found in many big show biz names and most of the Young British Artists for whom amassing money and social climbing- not sexual, racial, artistic or gender liberation- remains the ultimate pursuit.

This discomfort needs to be directly addressed, along with the underlying assumption that feeds it: namely, that all big budget films about European history-actually anything Western European in general- should be ultimately positive and comforting, for everyone. Should they dare point out racism, barbarism and/or sexism it has to have a redemptive factor (even if the hero croaks) because that makes money and feeds the myth. You get paid and then you are safely part of the club. The credits can't simply roll as the Christian old bill fries ala The Wicker Man. (Hence Hollywood's unbearably bad remake of Robin Hardy's cult classic featuring Nic Cage as a secular police investigator.) I got this same vibe from the recent April 28th Stuart Jeffries piece on Ken in The Guardian. Jeffries may be a lovely bloke but within the piece he came off just a tad too patronizing for my comfort level. But Jeffries did at least bring up the fact that film critic for the Evening Standard Alexander Walker, called The Devils "monstrously indecent."

"But how much sex is too much sex? Does the answer hinge on the number of different partners involved, the number of encounters with the same partner, particular configurations (three-way or group sex, say) or particular sexual acts (anal intercourse, say, or sadomasochism)? The answers will hinge on individual assumptions about what is "normal," "healthy" or "moral." In this country (The United States) numbers alone are likely to settle the argument: The higher the figure, the more brows start to furrow-even when we are talking about consenting adults." - Martin Duberman, 1998

We need to take a closer look at what most people in our culture mean when using the designation "indecent" (the charge Russell's detractors most often aim at him that is, when they are not denouncing the "excessiveness" of his work). Three definitions currently predominate: "Indecent" is something offensive to good taste; offensive to public moral values and, someone who acts exploitative, nasty and unlawful, especially in sexual matters. Hence the term "indecent exposure."

None of those definitions, I strongly feel, apply to Ken Russell. Firstly, what is "offensive to good taste" and what are the examples? Has Ken Russell stuck a Barbie doll or a hot wheels car up his bum for a live audience? Has he dropped racial or homophobic slurs in the press? Beaten people to a pulp? And as far as "public morals" are concerned, are we talking about The Festival Of Light? The Catholic Church? The Socialist Worker?  The BBC?  The Royal Family?  Jackass?  Who makes the rules of what constitutes public morality? Mostly heterosexual white males review (as well as direct) films, and if you read between the lines of nearly SIXTY years of popular film review and film-making, monogamous white, female to male pair-bonding is the optimal path to human happiness and "public morality." Ken's films show that great artists, misfits and women as a whole are not drones for the aforementioned corporate myth.

As far as Ken Russell's films being "nasty" and "grotesquely indecent" I've found nothing in his films that resembles this because his work, while occasionally very campy is never exploitative. In fact given the subject matter (and the beautiful women he casts) many of his films actually hold back on what could have been very explicit portrayals of sex-be they for art or simply if he wanted to make money.  Russell believes in sexual mystery, sensuality as well as not playing his actors AND audience for fools. Women, Gays, Lesbians and people of colour are not stupid nor are they exploited in Ken's films as they are Adrian Lyne, Oliver Stone and Alan Parker's work.

Fainting couch al fresco.
I argue often about the fact that grown women in cupcake costumes, sucking on lollipops and attaching sex to small children's motifs in music videos is indecent. I'm always accused of being a "prude" , "jealous" and even of "slut shaming" because many can't simply see that "fun and quirky" doesn't  apply when you attach sexuality to children's imagery or when raunchy behaviour comes to define a female public figure's persona. Taking advantage of cheap, guttersnipe culture shots via his imagery is something Russell has never done (even in his recent low budget films) but which is now out of control in the media under the guise of "female empowerment."  Granted a naked or raunchy women in public IS very, very powerful even a plain one -at least in regards to how much attention she can attract-her exploitative exhibitionism will gain more of a reaction  (and therefore an "appraisal from society")  even if it is wholly neagtive. The plain or even stunningly beautiful woman doctor who saved a life at her local hospital that same day will be ignored and unknown. Russell knows the inherent power in a naked woman's body like the back of his hand and yet does not exploit it in a creepy fashion. By the time Ken Russell has shocked you, you're either laughing too hard, too dazzled with beauty or simply asking yourself "what the hell was that?" to feel cheated. Quite decent a fellow if you ask me.


With Ann-Margaret on the set of Tommy.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ken Russell and The Female Form

Beauty mortally wounded. "Aria" Puccini's, Turandot segment featuring sumptuous British pin-up model Linzi Drew.

My take (censored) on Ken Russell's Nessun Dorma
Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson, Women in Love 1970
Ken's film direction embrace all trim female shapes. His actresses do not have one set look or body type. After being a fan of the Russ Meyer aesthetic (massive preferably natural breasts, a tiny waist and hips about ten inches wider than the waist but not wider or as wide as the chest)  I'm definitely a convert to Ken's far less rigid standards. Don't get me wrong, he has exacting preferences as all male directors do for female beauty but Ken respects the individuality of the actress's physique (as much of a tool of the trade as the voice) rather than forcing each woman into an inflexible, prescribed archetype.

Ken Russell's lead actress usually have extensive dance training (many of the extras in his films are classically trained ballerinas or move like them) and are required to dance in some capacity. Many walk, run, fight and dance naked too. And despite purposefully shooting Glenda Jackson's topless scenes when she was further along in her first pregnancy, unlike the rest of western civilization, Ken Russell does not put a premium on big breasts. Helen Mirren, though not a dancer, appears equally as gracefully as the human ascending and descending nude in "Savage Messiah" who strikes one deliciously figure flattering pose after another.

Here is a selection of Ken's beautiful actresses with links NSFW:

Michelle Phillips "Valentino" 1979

Hourglass Goddess Helen Mirren

Dorothy Tutin in a non Ken Russell film
Dorothy

Georgina Hale, Ken Russell perennial
Georgina Hale as Alma Mahler

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ken Russell: Portrait of riding crop carrying cult leader?

This watercolour portrait of Ken Russell always used to intimidate me. It captures his spirit but does not really look like him. There were many Ken Russell books at the library and this was one of them back when I was about sixteen and mostly new to film criticism and director biographies. I did know of Ken albeit very little. Before I knew how sweet and wonderful he is I thought he was combination of a mean Erich Von Stroheim type film teacher, Matthias from Omega Man, the corrupt Quaker from Star Trek episode, "All Our Yesterdays"  and a cult leader. Ken has always seemed to have had his platinum white hair and wild clothing so he's never really aged. You have to admit this painting is a trip. I had not seen it since I was sixteen.


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Friday, July 08, 2011

Where Corals Lie from Elgar's Sea Pictures

(Empirically speaking, had it not been for Ken Russell's tireless advocacy Elgar would never have been rediscovered and the classical music world would be less British. This is the first of many posts on Ken Russell and Edward Elgar.)

Due to Ken Russell's lively documentary on Sir Edward Elgar, the composer who had been mostly forgotten as a "Pro-Empire style cultural relic" (I hate the word Jingoistic!) became a beloved icon even landing on the 20 pound note for a few years. Subliminally his music is the soundtrack for today's England.

"Where Corals Lie" is a poem by Richard Garnett which was set to music by Elgar as the fourth song in his glorious six song-cycle Sea Pictures. Having studied this cycle as a Contralto for many years, I feel that Corals is the most challenging of all the pieces to sing. Dame Baker's voice is so clear, so effortless in modulation that in many ways no other contralto dare not attempt it again. And she was reputedly even better live!

Elgar's soaring and joyous compositions are now heard at every graduation ceremony in the United States and in countless films. Ken's film for BBC Monitor became "one of the most popular films of its kind ever shown on TV, and contributed to a marked revival of interest in the composer's music." [http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/russellk2.shtml Ken Russell] The film was narrated by Huw Wheldon and was eventually selected as on of BFI's "100 Greatest British Television Programmes."


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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ken Russell's Self Portrait of an Enfant Terrible from SouthBank

I thought I'd never find this! Ken's interpretation of his own autobiography for The South Bank Show presented by Melvyn Bragg. Who fans will remember his great interview with Pete Townshend from the 1970's in which Mr Bragg wears a duck egg blue ruffled tuxedo shirt. Great 80's opening theme and décor.

For those new to Ken, it is worth taking a half hour so and watch this (part 5 was pulled in the US unfortunately but is visible here in the UK). Fans who have not seen this here it is! You'll see many of Ken's rare early films for the BBC REJOICE IN JOYOUS CELEBRATION!!

This is something very special.










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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ken Russell's Whore and Human Avarice -Part One

(Gardenia and the Mighty Slug. The sublime and talented Theresa Russell in Whore. I have a vintage 80's strapless mini dress in the exact same fabric as her jacket)

(As I delve deeper into Ken's work I'll be continuing this and various other posts in a progressive format so they can eventually be read as complete posts)


If like me you are tired of reading about child killers walking free, double murder suicides and zoo animals being killed then may I please direct your attention to a scene by scene comparison of Ken Russell's "Whore" and Gary Marshall's "Pretty Woman."

Yes. You heard me correctly. And I'm not the only one.

Within this comparison one actually begins to get a clearer picture of the hypocrisy and the built in avarice of so called "civilised western society." Far more relevant than a Sunday supplement "so what went wrong" style article this comparison shows how mass market culture is designed to make people oblivious to pain and suffering. Whore, based on the play by Black cab driver David Hines, is a realist portrayal of the life of a prostitute in LA. Upon its release the film baffled critics while, Pretty Woman, a romantic comedy topped all the best of lists for 1990 and garnered an Oscar nod and super stardom thereafter for Julia Roberts.

The first appearance of Roberts in Pretty Woman is a dated-when-it-came-out looking 80's Mtv video sequence where, via a series of body doubles, she is getting dressed in what could easily be Euro clubwear (Vintage Men's smoking Jacket, velvet French painter's cap, cutaway dress, thigh highs) slowly and seductively to go out and work the mean streets of Hollywood. In Whore, we see a tunnel, traffic and Theresa Russell dressed to turn tricks in clothing (silver spangled bra, red leopard velvet Jacko Jacket and micro mini) only a hooker would wear is standing outside of it.


Hot and confident Richard Gere has been dumped yet again by a woman for being a marriage-aphobe workaholic. When Julia Roberts gets into his car he's charming, flirty and respectful. And within three minutes he's asked her to drive his lawyer's 50K Lotus because he's taken the time to find out in her childhood she was a tomboy who read car magazines and he can't drive a stick!! His eyes soften as they say goodbye, initially just wanting Julia to "show him how to get to Beverly Hills" Gere now wants more. Within fifteen minutes she's flossing in his hotel bathroom and watching "I Love Lucy" reruns. The morning after he's sexually serviced, a five star breakfast is waiting for her, she has his cash for endless shopping and they are talking about "his work."

Meanwhile on the street, Theresa Russell is the recipient of foul verbal abuse when she thwarts a john who wants to sodomize her and a potentially deadly ride with two men who throw her onto the cement. Add to that a homeless nut (Antonio Fargas) who self harms for money and her vivid flashback to being brutally gang raped by a group of young men in a van and there we have Whore's first TEN minutes!

The New York Times gushed over Pretty Woman:

"Yes, yes, the 80's are over. But isn't there room in the time capsule for ''Pretty Woman,'' the romantic comedy about a lovelorn corporate raider and a sweet, wholesome streetwalker from Hollywood Boulevard? This one truly deserves a place. It is something special... Julia Roberts, who is so enchantingly beautiful, so funny, so natural and such an absolute delight that it is hard to hold anything against the movie. " Janet Maslin

Ahhhh, the most repressive era of American culture since the 1950's is ending, Kurt Cobain will blow his brains out before the decades half over, bombs will be dropping next year but can't we all put on our shell suits, go to the sushi bar and wish we were Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman?

"Once the ice is broken, it is time for the film's true raison d'etre to emerge. ''Pretty Woman'' isn't about sex, but about conspicuous consumption... he sets Vivian loose on Rodeo Drive with his credit cards in hand. Edward escorts her personally and enters one boutique, declaring, ''We're going to be spending an obscene amount of money in here.'' One evening, Edward takes Vivian via limousine and private jet to the opera in San Francisco, borrowing several thousand dollars' worth of necklace for her to wear.Everything in the movie has a price tag."

That my friends is some sick shit. Maslin is emphatic that prostitution and the risking of ones life that it entails is not the reason why Roberts' character is living the fantasy high life. Maslin simply sees prostitution on the same plane as a shopping spree or a fancy dinner.

Vincent Catty Canby on Whore:

"The movie certainly doesn't glorify the profession. It confirms one's suspicions without adding to one's understanding. Mr. Russell treats Liz's story without any of the spectacular directorial touches for which he is known. It's difficult to tell whether this was an artistic decision or one dictated by a limited budget." Vincent Canby

It takes a blogger(aka writing out of love not money and social climbing)like J to the Power of 7 to nail it:

"It isn't pretty or glamorous, is it? How much value is attached to the life of a prostitute? Ask the King County sheriff's Department and the Seattle Police Department--they allowed the Green River killer to run riot for 20+ years thanks to their own rampant hatred and bigotry towards prostitutes. That hatred also exists throughout our culture and in the minds and attitudes of many Americans.This is a pure film for Ken Russell, and a compassionate statement for the victims of prostitution, namely, the whores." J to The Power of 7

To be continued and fine tuned tomorrow

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Five vunderful reasons to watch Valentino

(Below, Natasha Rambova (Michelle Phillips) and Nazimova (Leslie Caron) enter the then uncharted realms and untold coolness of mass film star mourning.)



(The other male full frontal Ken Russell scene. Rudolph Nureyev and Michelle Phillips, cultural icons of the 1970s in the silken flesh. (NSFW but so worth it!) This is the Russian version and the dialogue is "dubbed" Soviet Style ala the translator talking over the actors...)

When I was about seven, my Mum took Ballet classes for a few years and then made me take them. I resisted at first (I was very tall for my age so it felt awkward) but now greatly appreciate the experience. Mr. Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was a household word and adored by Mum who sketched his handsome Tartar face in charcoal. Ken Russell's Valentino was thus on repeat in my house from the time I was seven till I was about eleven. I thought it was amazing. When I grew up and read that there were people, including Ken Russell himself who had thought it was a big mistake well... I was shocked! I don't begrudge Ken's choice in thinking it was a career misstep but here are my five reasons to why everyone should see Valentino at least once:

1. Nureyev: Easily one of the best looking men that ever lived and one of the most unique as well, he's never looked more beautiful. He's not an film actor but he's fun to watch. And let's give credit where it is due; no male Ballet dancer has approached Nureyev's talent and persona since. In Valentino one can see that he possessed a body without any tension and had the flexibility (and complexion) of a carefree two year old. Not bad for a dancer who started his professional training at 22!

2. Costumes:
Shirley Ann "God" Russell is without equal and she is missed by the countless people she gracefully touched. The costumes in Valetino run the gamut of the 1920's and many look like Maxfield Parrish or Erte paintings come to life. Today's vintage fanatics are far too obsessed with the 50s and 60s. If you want the sublime, the detail, the melting decadence then you want the 1920s. And if you want the 20s or to learn about the fine art of costume design and vintage reproduction clothing then you have to watch Valentino as well as track Shirley's unparalleled life and career as a costumer and so much more.



(Shirley Russell must have loved the above carpet's colour scheme. Rudolph's tomb Russian cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois near Paris. Mosaic by Ezio Frigerio.)

3.Older kids interested in film history and dance can watch the film:
watching films like Valentino which did have nudity and adult situations but were mostly tame, did not harm me growing up. In fact 90% of what children/teens are seeing on video games and music video is far more explicit and even worse-not artistic or creative in the slightest. Granted my parents were artists but if it is between Michelle Philips in a break away kaftan or Miley Cyrus in an ASDA SnM dress (or worse aka The Only Way is Essex) then you only have yourselves to blame Mums and Dads!

4.The 1920s as seen in the 70s: The 1950's, what with Happy Days, America Graffiti, Grease, Big Wednesday etc, seemed to be the decade that returned in the 70s but a closer look at many ads, clothing, art works, children's toys and even hair and makeup and it is evident that the 20s was also a very strong cultural influence. No film encapsulates the decadence of the 20s as seen via the lush over-abundance of 70s RussellVision, like Valentino.

(Above: A fresh scent of 1920s whimsy in the 1970s, The Barbie Perfume Maker)

5. Cinematography: Peter Suschitzky's lush work has not lost an ounce of lustre in over thirty years. Many films from that period look mottled and dingy but Valentino still has that same radiance as the first day I saw it and decided that a cloche hat and Theda Bara eyes were the keys to eternal stardom whilst getting my pics snapped while in heated missionary position by those pesky newshounds!

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Ken Russell has like reinvented the post-it!


(Above) The tiny empire waists strike back-MUST see payback penultimate scene from R&MHR.

(R&MHR final scene)


"The glamorous, vulnerable and “totally cutting-edge” duo Romy and Michele, played by Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow, those inseparable flatmates bound for their high-school reunion with exaggerated resumés and loveable optimism. No, I haven’t miscounted. It’s a tribute to their ability to complement each other’s performance that their double act in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) makes them unforgettably one."
-Ken Russell, London Times 2007


Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion is one of Ken Russell's top ten favourite films. As he's a human monument to high art, obscure references (references that grow ever more obscure as the world dumbs ever downer) and is a creative genius this choice comes out of left field to many. Ken has seen over 75 years worth of films thus I have no doubt that many of his most loyal fans don't really believe he'd embrace a big budget, 80's nostalgia film and that he's simply having us all on. What did I think when I read that?

Did not surprise me a bit.

After all, "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" features many key Ken Russell elements: the 40's stylized blond (Elaine Hendrix), young women navigating through the wilderness years (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow), the petty Bourgeoisie exposed (the reunion scene) , a Gay actor refreshingly cast as straight (Alan Cumming) and of course a well choreographed modern ballet dance!

Notice something? The words "silver makeup", "giant throbbing phallus" or "Nazi strumpet" are not mentioned. Ken Russell is all things folks.

The dialogue is wonderful in how it proudly celebrates self deprecation and honesty which a film like Adam Sandler's recent "Just Go With It" failed to do. Sandler, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston**-all very talented-were so self conscious about looking hot and being really, really funny that there were no surprises, no human element essential to all great comedy films and even the C word spewing Derek and Clive recordings. Sandler filled in the void with tired, lame racist humour, Hollywood infommercial abs and little kids with REALLY abysmal cockney accents.

"Chunderooney" as they say in the East End.


Ken is spot on when he likens the Kudrow and Sorvino acting to "one" entity. Indeed, each acts as the others "that little voice" which we all have inside our heads. Full Metal Jacket and the duality of man? No, ask Jung about Romy and Michelle instead. In Ken's gloriously sensual pro-female empowerment film, The Rainbow lead Ursula Brangwen (Sammi Davis) longs for Winifred Inger (uber fox Amanda Donohue) to be Michelle to her Romy. But alas, Winfred is strictly a "with benefits" type of friend even vying for the title of sexiest "frenemy" in film history.
(Amanda Donohue in The Rainbow)

The scenes in RMHR towards the films end where people's true feelings and (gasp!) , their actual incomes and marital standing is revealed don't make the viewer laugh haughtily for too long. Those scenes are more of a documentary, one that everyone can admit to relating to. As the snotty popular crowd is taken down to soccer mom rubble with nothing more than the simple truth and self worth in the form of "I don't give a flying fuck what you think" we all have a cinematic example of how to save ourselves a hundred grand in therapy. Rewind the three minute scene multiple times and you'll see what I mean.

As for the film's axis of evil, Christie Masters (played brilliantly by Julia Campbell) she walks the earth off screen to this day as Lauren Joness, my arch enemy in secondary school (what we yanks call "middle" or "Junior" high). You dream of putting someone like Lauren Joness in a pit with Jules Burchill* and giving the latter a rusty pen knife and an eight ball of miaow-miaow but even that does not suffice in personal satisfaction.

Quite possibly the most vile human I've ever encountered, as young as 12 years old, Lauren, a new comer to the tony town of my childhood, lived to torment her peers who had less money and weaker social standing; picking them apart with the sort of uncalled for brutality that Hermann Göring would have respected. One Spring day Lauren dropped a few really foul names my way and within a split second her eye was blackened with every ounce of Berkeley anti-establishment power I could pack into my 12 year old fist. I believe she later became a débutante in high school ironically due the fact I wouldn't deign to "tell on her." Her pleading that she'd "be beaten" by her father if she were "ever suspended" because it could give her a "bad record" made me shed a tear for her. As evidenced by Romy and Michele, the kids on the bottom of the school hierarchy are the one's with the hearts that actually function.

After moving away I kept up with Lauren's "adventures" which included (surprise) becoming even nastier. Last I heard she'd married young, had children and was wearing pearls around her neck in her Facebook profile pic. And soon, if all goes well with the latest bit of "magic", a throbbing 20 foot white phallus like worm with silver eye makeup and an iron cross between it's eyes.

(Molly Russell and Christopher Gables in "The Rainbow")

*Jules Burchill, a Janeane Garofalo tribute act if there ever was one. A high compliment by the way!

** Janeane Garofalo's character in the film continually torments a cowboy, Jason Theroux, who today is now Jennifer Aniston's handsome boyfriend.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

KEN RUSSELL 'S BIRTHDAY IS TODAY!!!!!!!!!

Gothic

Rainbow

Elgar


HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEN RUSSELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The films that Super Amanda dreams of Ken Russell making
(all biographical films unless otherwise stated):

Paul Robeson
POOL group
King Arthur Opera by Purcell
Iannis Xenakis
Bernini
Gelsey Kirkland
Ruddigore by G&S
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers aka The Roly Poly Pudding Ken and Lisi to star as Samuel and Anna Maria and respectively.
The Light Princess 19th Century fairy tale

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Savage Art 101: A Year of Ken Russell



For an entire year and a day, July 3rd, 2011 until July 3rd 2012, I am going to be blogging every single day about the life, the art, the insanity, the genius, the sparkling blue eyes and much, much more of Henry Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Russell, easily the world's greatest film director and auteur.

As discussed in the lead up post, I've decided to "go back to school" and learn from the best there is sharing the positivity, craziness and great knowledge that any scholar of Ken's has to delve into. I'm going to live some of it too. I've become far too nebulous and soft as an artist after having my first child and
need a swift kick in the arse. I probably know about a third of what Ken's done (his history and work is mammoth) so while I'm a diehard fan I'm not an expert which makes this a true project. Much of my blogging will be biographical of Ken and what inspires him. This will include daily snippets of film history, quotes, artwork, music and a few surprises. I plan on introducing many of my teen/early 20 something friends to him as well and publish their responses. Ken Russell's books "A British Picture" and "Fire Over England" are highly recommended and will be referenced here though I will avoiding the half dozen or so, as yet unread to me, Ken Russell bios. Biographers often favour a tell-it-like-it-was account that make their subjects accessible human beings rather than pedestalized deities-I prefer BOTH and all that lies in between.

So I do hope all Ken Russell fans who are on blogger will join in. I hope to make new fellow Ken fan friends and create many converts to his art as well. There is truly no one else like him and his work speaks to everyone. For those of you who love Ken Russell, he is on Facebook here and here and his official website is Savage Messiah run by Iain Fisher. His wife Lisi Tribble is one of the most delightful people I've ever met online. Lisi and Ken have kindly allowed many of his clips onto You Tube and even his most obscure and rare work lives again. I do ask all my fellow Ken fans who can afford it to please buy official copies. All artists need to get paid and if there is a Ken Russell "boomlet" then film budgets will follow.

There will be a scholarly weekly in-depth essay and a "Ken Russell Physical Fitness" challenge here too. (The latter may involve donning art deco hair and makeup and playing croquet in
Commedia dell'arte costumes whilst drinking Moet Chandon.) I'm also working on a Ken Russell encyclopaedia (please contact me if you'd like to help) though due to how voluminous his oeuvre is and how eventful all the names, dates and places connected to him are the limitations of publishing on blogger may preclude me from offering it. Once I passed 500 entries I realised that I should seriously consider going back and finishing my degree. After all if there are punters getting PHDs on the socio-political implications of working at Starbucks and the engineering of inverted firkins then why not a Doctorate in Ken Russell?!!

SO HERE WE GO!!!! Lace up your toe shoes, pop a fig, grab a thigh bone off the Klaus barbie, let your bits sway in the sunshine meadows and run in terror from the movie theatre when the plucked chicken appears (actually an iguana)!! LET US RESURRECT, RE-EXAMINE AND RE-SKEWER THE GREATS JUST AS KEN HAS! Let there be no classical composer or artist neglected and nary a silver phallus left unturned!!

WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF CHAMPAGNE AND THOSE WHO WATCH CRAP TELLY AND RUBBISH FILM MUST BE SAVED-- OR LIQUIDATED! PREFERABLY ON A DEVIL'S POSTPILE IN BORROWDALE!

HELP CREATE A WORLD LESS TIGHT ASS NOT MORE JACK ASS!!

KEN RUSSELL IS GOD!!!!!





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