The Streetwise Anthropologist

The name Garry Winogrand might not be familiar to you but you have probably seen some of his most famous photographs over the years. There are his candid celebrity shots that include a young John F. Kennedy amid attendees at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles circa 1960 and Marilyn Monroe on the set of Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch (1955) as she stands over a subway grate, her skirt billowing around her. More typical are his street scenes and public places portraits such as the one of a young couple frolicking in the surf at Coney Island or the acrobat caught in mid-air above the sidewalk. All of these and many more are included in a deep dive of his four-decade archive in Sasha Waters Freyer’s engrossing documentary, Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable. Continue reading

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Leonard Cohen’s 1972 Concert Tour

Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire (1972)“If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”  –  Leonard Cohen

Missing in action since it was first filmed by Tony Palmer in 1972, Bird on a Wire, a documentary account of Leonard Cohen’s European tour, finally surfaced on DVD in 2010 after being painstakenly restored frame by frame by the director who described the long, complicated history on the extra audio features. It’s a shame the film didn’t garner more attention upon its DVD debut but for Cohen fans, the documentary is essential viewing and just as candid, raw and intimate as D.A. Pennebaker’s remarkable Bob Dylan portrait, Don’t Look Back (1967), which covered that singer/songwriter’s tour of England in 1965.   Continue reading

…And Bob Dylan Plays a Chainsaw-Wielding Conceptual Artist.

Bob Dylan in Backtrack aka Catchfire (1990)

Bob Dylan in Backtrack aka Catchfire (1990)

Sometimes the casting in a film is so peculiar and unique that you feel compelled to take a chance on it no matter how many negative things you’ve heard about it. Wouldn’t you want to see a movie that featured Jodie Foster, Vincent Price, Joe Pesci, Charlie Sheen, Dean Stockwell, Bob Dylan and numerous other well-known stars? Such is the case with 1990’s Catchfire, one of Dennis Hopper’s least known movies but there’s a reason for that.   Continue reading