"YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS ARE AS DAZZLING AS YOUR SUBJECTS"

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"STRATEGY 31," July 31, 2010

"31" 


Photograph © Gwendolyn Stewart 2010; All Rights Reserved 

BORIS NEMTSOV 
IN THE YELTSIN GOVERNMENT 

"Strategy 31" protestors in Russia today marked the first anniversary of their attempts to demonstrate in honor of the freedom of assembly promised by Article 31 of the Russian constitution.   Always the rallies are scheduled for the 31st of any month that has one.   The authorities seem to keep making the protestors' point that such demonstrations are needed by refusing to give permission for them, and, as today, by breaking them up. 

Prominent among those arrested in Moscow was Boris Nemtsov, one-time first deputy prime minister of Russia (see photograph above), and now head of Solidarity, the Russian version, which has the name but not the numbers of its Polish cousin.  AP reported that "An Associated Press reporter saw Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov dragged to a police car and driven away. The rally had barely started."  Others, according to the Wall Street Journal, shouted "Freedom!" and "Russia without Putin!" and held up "31" signs. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

DOWN BY THE SEASHORE, SOCHI, RUSSIA

DOWN BY THE 
SEASHORE 
AGAIN 


Photograph © Gwendolyn Stewart 2010; All Rights Reserved 

SOCHI, RUSSIA 
BACK IN THE USSR, 1984 

Future home of the 2014 Winter Olympics 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

DOWN BY THE SEASHORE, LIMA, PERU

PERU CELEBRATES THE 
189th ANNIVERSARY 
OF ITS INDEPENDENCE 


© Gwendolyn Stewart 2010; All Rights Reserved. 

DOWN BY THE SEASHORE 
LIMA, PERU 

As Peru winds up two days of its Independence Day celebrations, a quiet picture down by the sea.  (For pictures of pomp and circumstance and President Alan Garcia, see elsewhere on this blog.) 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BILL BRADLEY, b. July 28, 1943


BILL BRADLEY 
b. July 28, 1943 
 

BILL BRADLEY CAMPAIGNING 
FOR THE U.S. SENATE, 1978 

Ran successfully; served (D-NJ) from 1979-1996; ran for president, 2000; lost the Democratic nomination to Al Gore

Monday, July 26, 2010

BENT

THE GAP 


BENT 

© Gwendolyn Stewart 2010; All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

PAUL VOLCKER IN THE NEWS


PAUL VOLCKER
IN THE NEWS


PAUL VOLCKER AS CHAIR OF
THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD

Paul Volcker is back in the news, almost a generation
after he left as head of the Fed, after Alan Greenspan
took it on, and after Greenspan gave way to Ben
Bernanke. Having passed him over a more substantive
position, President Obama gave Volcker a title and a "rule,"
the "Volcker rule."

The New Yorker profile is generating a lot of buzz,
even as it seems evident that Volcker was as much
used as useful in trying to bring about financial reforms.

As John Cassidy writes in that profile: "On January 21, 2010, President Obama, with Volcker towering over his right shoulder in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room, urged Congress to enact 'a simple and common-sense reform, which we’re calling the Volcker rule—after this tall guy behind me.' Volcker smiled and looked sheepish. The term hadn’t been in the speech draft that the White House had forwarded to Volcker’s office the previous night. David Axelrod, the President’s political adviser, had inserted it at the last minute, framing it with some populist language about the 'army of industry lobbyists' that was fighting reform. 'The Volcker rule' immediately entered the political lexicon, thus associating the White House with a figure known for his independence and integrity. 'The other advantage of it,' Volcker joked to an associate, 'is that if it doesn’t fly they can throw me under the bus.'" (More here.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

GERALDINE FERRARO WINS DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FOR VICE-PRESIDENT, July 19, 1984

GERALDINE FERRARO
WINS DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
FOR VICE-PRESIDENT, July 19, 1984


WALTER MONDALE & GERALDINE FERRARO
ARE CHEERED AT THE 1984
DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
IN SAN FRANCISCO
Then Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-New
York) was the first, and until John McCain chose
Sarah Palin for the Republicans in 2008, the only
woman nominated to the national ticket of either
major U.S. party.

Ronald Reagan and George Bush won the election
in 1984. Barack Obama and Joe Biden won in 2008.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

KURT MASUR b. July 18, 1927

KURT MASUR
b. July 18, 1927


KURT MASUR TAKES A BOW
Carnegie Hall, November 28, 2006
Maestro Masur Conducting the London Philharmonic

A review of those November 2006 concerts can be found here.
Bernard Holland, the reviewer, records "waves of friendship"
greeting Kurt Masur, "a genuine warmth like nothing he
experienced during his years in New York as the music director
of the New York Philharmonic. In those eleven years, he notes,
the conductor "was received as something of a drill sergeant in
charge of a wayward platoon, a kind of bitter medicine designed
to urge the orchestra of its loose ways."

A similar theme is highlighted in Anthony Tommasini's review of
Masur's May 12, 2010, return to guest conduct the New York
Philharmonic, here. Tommasini observes that the maestro "seemed
deeply gratified by the warm applause and bravos he received
when he appeared onstage at Avery Fisher Hall...." He too mentions difficulties in Masur's earlier tenure in New York, but then comes to the point: "The program of Beethoven’s exuberant First Symphony and Bruckner’s challenging Seventh Symphony, the only one he [Masur] will present this season was ideally suited to his musical strengths. Standing upright and looking in his element, he conducted both works from memory, a master musician among respectful colleagues who responded with lively, richly characterized Beethoven and glowing, serenely beautiful Bruckner."

Live long enough, and have the good fortune to be allowed to play to your strengths --

Kurt Masur's own website is here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

NICHOLAS II, THE LAST RUSSIAN CZAR, DIES A VIOLENT DEATH WITH ALL HIS NEAREST & DEAREST, July 17, 1918

THE LAST TSAR DIES
July 17, 1918


INFORMAL MEMORIAL TO
TSAR NIKOLAI II (CZAR NICHOLAS II)
& HIS FAMILY, SVERDLOVSK
(YEKATERINBURG), RUSSIA (USSR), 1991

Out in the Urals, where Europe meets Asia, on the night of July 16-17, 1918, Nikolai II and his family and close retainers were killed ("murdered" or "executed") by "the Bolsheviks" in the Ipatiev House.

Almost sixty years later, in 1977, the Soviet regime, headed by the Politburo, decided to do away with the Ipatiev House, lest it become too much of a magnet. Its local instrument, the First Secretary of Sverdlovsk, Boris Yeltsin, a construction engineer by training, had the deed done. He was to regret this later, of course.

And now, Sverdlovsk is Yekaterinburg again, and this last imperial ruler of Russia, described in the history books when I was coming up as a good family man, but (at best) a poor excuse for a ruler, is deemed worthy of sainthood: Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer.

Similarly, modest informal memorials that appeared on the site of the former Ipatiev House (such as the one in the photograph above) have been replaced on that site by The Church on Blood in Honor of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land. Nicholas II's grandfather, Alexander II, has his Church on Spilled Blood, as we have seen; but I doubt anyone has ever mistaken Nicholas II for a Tsar-Liberator.

Two days ago, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came to pay their respects in this "Church of All Saints" as part of a Russo-German summit in Yekaterinburg [see photograph #14].


Friday, July 16, 2010

ROBERT MOTHERWELL d. July 16, 1991

ROBERT MOTHERWELL
January 24, 1915-July 16, 1991


ROBERT MOTHERWELL AT M.I.T.

A standard short bio of Motherwell identifies him as "one of the major artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement and also the leading spokesman for that generation of artists," and identifies "certain recurrent themes and motifs, such as the monumental Elegies to the Spanish Republic, the intensely brooding Iberia paintings, and the lyrical Opens."

PBS featured Motherwell in one of its American Masters programs.

One of his daughters, Jeannie Motherwell, has contributed an engaging set of "Recollections" of her father, with vivid details of the artist's attempts to shape his working environment.

Motherwell himself gave an extensive series of interviews at the time of the photograph above, interviews lodged at the Smithsonian under the title Oral history interview with Robert Motherwell, 1971 Nov. 24-1974 May 1, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, and available on line here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

#250: SUNSET ON THE RIVER YAN

SUNSET ON
THE RIVER YAN


YAN RIVER, YAN'AN, CHINA, 1981

Yan'an is where Mao Zedong & Co. holed up during World War II. It was memorialized by Edgar Snow in RED STAR OVER CHINA, and became the exemplar for the Yan'an Way (or Yenan Way).

More recently, Jonathan Mirsky has written a piece both illuminating the shining star Mao appeared to some, especially in the days of Yan'an, and revealing something of the realities of the place and time. "What initially bowled over many followers," Mirsky writes, "was the illusion they had seen something pure." Sidney Rittenberg told Mirsky, "Even the fierce winds and bleak landscape of Yan'an seemed unsullied to me." But according to information from a retired general, "[S]ometimes they buried people alive, or left them to slow death. The simplest method of getting rid of people was to tie them together and make them walk into a lake or river, where they would drown."

More Yan'an:






Tuesday, July 13, 2010

OBAMA TO NEW LOW

OBAMA
AT NEW LOW
IN THE POLLS


BARACK OBAMA MAKES A POINT

"Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low," reports the Washington Post, drawing on a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY": BORIS YELTSIN WALKS OUT OF THE PARTY


"IT WAS 20 YEARS
AGO TODAY"


BORIS YELTSIN WALKS
OUT OF THE PARTY

"IT WAS the Party's last hurrah. ...

"Four thousand, six hundred eighty-three delegates were called to the Twenty-Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, but only one walked out of the Congress, out of the Palace of Congresses, and out of the Party forever. That one was Boris Yeltsin. A handful of journalists were waiting in the foyer as he passed through, and I was one of them.

"The long day was winding down into night, and the long Congress was winding down into the history books. It was July 12, 1990, the next-to-last day of a contentious two-week convocation of the leaders of the Soviet Union, the mighty and the small. It was evening outside and a bit dull inside the lobby of the great Palace of Congresses.

...

"Suddenly a rush! Boris Yeltsin had unexpectedly interrupted the proceedings to ask to speak, and to the astonishment of the auditorium, had announced his resignation from the Party. As head of the Russian Republic, he said, he could not continue to be subjected to the directives of any party. The father of the country he was to be, above the fray, above any parties. I flew downstairs to station myself by the door to await his exit."

Continued in "Pivot"

Chapter One of RUSSIA REDUX

by Gwendolyn Stewart

and here