Friday, April 30, 2010

Fire and Champagne

Historically Valborgmässa (Walpurgisnacht) is derived from various pagan spring customs. Bonfires were built to keep away the dead and chaotic spirits that were then widely believed to walk among the living.1 This is followed by the return of light and the sun as celebrated during May Day. The strongest and most traditional Spring festivities are also found in the old university cities, like Uppsala and Lund where both undergraduates, graduates and alumni gather at events that last most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30, or "sista april" ("The last day of April") as it is called in Uppsala. Modern Valborg celebrations, particularly in Uppsala, consist of having a light breakfast including champagne and strawberries. During the day people gather in parks, drink alcoholic beverages, barbeque and generally enjoy the weather, if it happens to be favourable.

A Little Sanity...Please!

So this thing has spread, is what has happened, this thing of making pariahs of smokers, punishing them with ostracism. Smoking Kills!—as if it just kills generically, kills everyone, and not just the addicts who are torching three packs a day. (Which, yes, it may!) There’s a weird, angry vengefulness against smokers, who are now treated like “outsiders” in more than just the literal sense of having to cluster round the ashcan at some specified distance from an office building.

In Praise of Five Cigarettes a Day - The Awl

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

This document was adopted by the World People's Conference on Climate and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22, 2010. The conference was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 19-22. Text from PWCCC. For more coverage of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, click HERE.

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"Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger...." Click image for full text.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I've been busy...

Sorry for the scarcity of posts recently. I've been working of a sequence of digital collages I've named the "Vim Series," after a small magazine of the same name which had a rather profound effect on me as a thirteen year-old. I'll post others in due course.

Monday, April 12, 2010


AUBURN -- Lucille Webb, the widow of photographer Todd Webb, died peacefully on Jan. 12, 2008, at her home in Auburn. She was 101 years old.

     Born Sept. 16, 1906, she led an extraordinary life. Nee Lucille Minqueau, she grew up in New York City where she attended classes at NYU and Barnard College, and studied for a year at the Sorbonne in 1924. Her career was fascinating and wide-ranging. Her first job was as personal secretary to the then famous opera star Lucretia Bori, learning and managing the many intrigues of Ms. Bori's life. Lucille went on to work at an advertising firm, Peddler and Ryan. All the while she was taking classes in modern dance with Jose Limon and Catherine Dunham, dancing briefly in both companies.

     She was extremely independent. After World War II, unmarried and in her early 40s, she ventured on a trip to Paris. There, by complete happenstance, she met Todd Webb, an American photographer living in Paris at the time. After 24 hours of knowing Lucille he asked her to marry him! His journal entry reflects that knowledge... Things are happening to me, things I hadn't planned or dreamed of. There is even the possibility I may not be a bachelor forever. Their partnership and love for one another was truly inspirational. They married in Paris, Sept. 10, 1949, and realized they were born a year and a day apart- Sept. 15, 1905 and Sept. 16, 1906. They lived in Paris for a few more years and moved back to New York in 1953.

     Todd was working as a commercial photographer and with Roy Stryker who was heading up the WPA. Todd received two Guggenheim fellowships in 1954 and '55, walking across America with his camera. Lucille held down the fort with a job in New York at one of the first firms to do market research and polling. In 1960 they were lured to Santa Fe by their old friend, Georgia O'Keeffe, settling there for 10 years.

     Lucille opened a paperback bookshop and gallery on Canyon Road and Todd taught photography. They had many adventures, traveling to Mexico often and spending time with O'Keeffe and her circle of friends. In 1971 they ventured back to France settling in the Provencal village of St. Restitut, and thence to Bath, England for a few years. They returned to the states in 1976, settling in Portland and Bath. They moved to Schooner Estates in Auburn in 1999. Todd died in 2000. Todd Webb is best known for his large format photos of New York in the 1940s, Paris in the 50s and intimate portraits of Georgia O'Keeffe.

     Lucille is survived by a sister, Lenore, 103, of New York City. She also is survived by many devoted friends. She was truly a marvel and will be sorely missed. A memorial service will be held on Jan. 25, at 10 a.m. at Schooner Estates in Auburn, in the Tenant's Harbor room. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Lucille's name may be sent to the Guggenheim Foundation, New York or the Maine College of Art, Portland.

Via:Todd Webb Photographs

Like a phantom...

Todd Webb, photographer, was a friend of my parents in Santa Fe in the 50's-60's. His wife, Lucille, ran the Paperbook Gallery on Canyon Road, and was my first book-selling employer, while I was at St. John's College. The shop, although limited in inventory, displayed a large number of Todd's photographs, and I grew to love them.

The Webbs lived on Houghton St., just up the hill from Harrington Junior High, not too far from Free Fraser's and Kaune's, (that corner of, then, College & Manhattan streets, that was to become dominated by the "Round House" and the Paseo de Peralta Loop (both ugly) but then was mostly St. Mike's, The Pink Adobe, and the Bull Ring) and seemed a part of the permanent constellation of Santa Fe life. How naif we are at that age! How quickly it becomes The Past.

Photo from loverofbeauty, click to enlarge.