Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Events at Portage Theater, Chicago, 1920 -2013...Depp, Dave McKean, Elegance of Masculine Beauty photographs, Flapper Dance, etc

¯"I read the news today, oh boy. The Portage Theater has just closed it's doors" ¯ to paraphrase The Beatles "A Day in the Life." The Portage was built in 1920 and received preliminary landmark status in 2012. Chaplin's The Great Dictator was deemed too controversial, thus premiered at only 2 theaters in Chicago, the Music Box and Portage in 1940. In 2008, a scene from Public Enemies (released 2009) with Johnny Depp was filmed here in lieu of the Biograph Theater (Depp played gangster John Dillenger who was gunned down after watching Manhattan Melodrama 1934). 
My feet with original tile floors from 1920
Magnificent Portage Grande Cinema Organ

The Portage was almost sold to a mega church (summer 2012) but to grassroots activism in the community saved it! This video of surrealist Time Lord flapper dance was to celebrate the fact that the Portage wasn't sold back then. Now, sadly, it is under new ownership which has shut it's doors and gives no public statement as to what it plans to do with the building.

Dave McKean, illustrator for Neil Gaiman's Sandman and numerous other graphic novels, came to the Portage Theater to screen his short films and his full length film Mirrormask, written by Gaiman. Also on exhibit were McKean's paintings inspired by German expressionistic films from the Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933) produced by the Ufa film company in Berlin. 
Dave McKean painting inspired by M (dir Fritz Lang, 1931)
Dave McKean signing his books

Cabinet of Dr Caligari by Dave McKean

 Inpromtu flapper dance film (below) filmed by Chicago Surrealist Group member, DainaSurrealism & actor/model, Jacob. Portage Theater, built 1920. View VIRAL Chaplin dance w/ my band, "Hypnagogic Telegram." (Georges Melies film "Trip to the Moon" 1902) backdrop. Electronica inspired by Dreams, fleeting aspects of time, Lewis Carroll,  Dr Who (Trock), & Fortean Phenomena. This was filmed after screening of "The Artist" when film's theme song played on loop (Chicago). Any excuse for a surrealist to play dress-up

(Song: The Artist Theme Song - George Valentin ( Ludovic Bource )Film "The Artist" by Michel Hazanavicius, French director of Lithuanian origin (Lietuvis). Lietuvaite soka kaip Flapper! Vasario 16 Gimnazija studente Cikagoje. Lithuanian surreal artist. Labas!)

I took the first location shots for my Elegance of Masculine Beauty project.

Silent and classic film is a major inspiration for my project. See picks of beautiful men from the history of Hollywood in my Elegance of Masculine Beauty: Hollywood Inspiration (Valentino, James Dean, Roger Moore, Depp, Cumberbatch, et al) 

Rudolph Valentino
James Dean
Roger Moore as The Saint
Johnny Depp
Benedict Cumberbatch
A propo silent film, the Portage held an annual Silent Film Fest Chicago every summer. That has now moved to Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, IL.

The Black Pirate (1926)

Sunday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.
Pickwick Theatre
5 South Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL

Other Portage Theater events will have new venues. Find updates on these sites.
Expressionist film posters (Cocaine, Totentanz, Marmorhaus, Opium)
STRANGE INTERLUDE: My Vaudeville, Time-Travel inspired band, "Hypnagogic Telegram" is going VIRAL on Youtube. I play a literal personification of a Time Ghost (Zeitgeist) that inhabits the wardrobe closet of the TARDIS. I come out in costumes from various eras to dance & sing in styles from those eras. Film in background is Georges Milies' Trip to the Moon (1902) silent classic. If Doctor Who would have a band, it might sound like this. 
<---- br="" here.="" video="" view="" youtube="">On FACEBOOK @ HYPNAGOGIC TELEGRAM

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vasario 16-osios gimnazijos istorija: Mokykla Rūke: siurrealistes Fotografijos

V16-osios  gimnazijos istoria nuotraukose siurrealistes Dainos (Cikagos siurrealistisu grupes nare, lietuve siurrealiste). Pries kelis metusas aplaunkiau Lampertheim-Huettenfeld. As atsibudau viena ryta: miestelis mane pasitiko paskendes ruke. As pasiemiau savo fotoaperata ir isejau pasivaikscioti dviem valandom. Ka as pamaciau kai nuejau i mokyklos teritorija, mane suzavejo. Bokstas kuris yra lietuviu bendruomenes ikona, buvo apsiaustas balto debesies.

History in Photos by Lithuanian Surrealist Daina Almario-Kopp (member of Chicago Surrealist Group, Lietuviska surrealiste).
I visited Lampertheim-Huettenfeld a few years back. I woke one morning to find the town thick with fog. I grabbed my camera and went for a two hour walk. What I saw once I got to the school's campus was mesmerizing. The tower, which is an icon in the Lithuanian community, was cloaked in white. The fog symbolizes how memory clouds our recollections of the past. As an ex-student of the school, I feel the first photo best represents my memories of living there. Time is strange and ephemeral; so is the sliver in time we call photography.  
Privates Litauisches Gymnasium im Nebel.
I have not named the people in these pictures unless I have their permission to do so.
"As the Fog Lifted..."

Vasario 16 Gimnazija, early 1970s (above..
I didn't take this photo)
Vasario 16 Gimnazija, late 1980s with carved wooden cross (above)

The chaos after the boy's dormitory burned down
in the middle of the night; firepeople in the background, rubble in the foreground. 
Someone woke us up our room at night yelling "Feuer!" 
That was how I learned the German word for "fire." No one was hurt, thankfully.
It ended up on the German news. That entire day we were in shock (Šerlokas Holmsas - Benedict Cumberbatch - BBC, give us your blanket!). 

Twelve students, myself included, went on a school trip to Rome. This was on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Saint Kazimir (St Kazimieras; 1458-1484), the patron saint of Lithuania. The students and a handful of Lithuanians had a private audience with Pope John Paul II later that week, 
on 4 March, 1984.
"When the soviets closed the Cathedral of Vilnius in 1948 the coffin with the body of St. Casimir was moved to the church of St apostles Peter and Paul. After the political change, the coffin was brought back to the Cathedral in a big and solemn procession and celebration on March 4, 1989." Quoted from

After the fire, the school built this building to hold classes in while the boys
 slept in the actual old school building.
I had originally cut out the background so the pic would fit in my photo album.
Fortunately, I had saved it. This is it reattached.

I'm on the left. On the left is where original school building where the boys
slept in while the burned building was  restored. In the back is the girl's dormitory.
This was before they built an adjacent co-ed dormitory to the girl's dorm. Summer, 1984.

This is the school building from a view showing the teachers'
apartments on the left.

Outside the shop the students, across the street from my favourite hangout, the Bruno's Pizza in Huttenfeld.
Remember the Spagetti Eis? Yum. 1986

Just visiting.; seeing off friends going on a school trip. At the entrance gate, 1986.

Me visiting a friend from V16 who lived in Berlin, 1987.
The Berlin Wall was still up then.

Checkpoint Charlie, West Berlin, 1987.

Me at the west-east crossing point of Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, 1987.

I love using reflections in photography. See my surrealist experimental self-portraits 
V16 in the early 2000s

To view my art, check out 


STRANGE INTERLUDE: My Vaudeville inspired band, Hypnagogic Telegram, is going VIRAL on Youtube. Check out my Lithuanian song, Svejotoje, below. Viral Chaplin dance below that.

Songs in German, Lithuanian, French & English.
<---- View YOUTUBE VIDEO here.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Matthew Cohn look alike from Certain Angles

An Artist's Perspective
I am currently working on my Elegance of Masculine Beauty project; photographing and illustrating elegant masculine figures; paying minute attention to details of male bone structure, muscle tone, and angular aspects of the face. I have concentrated on figure drawing since I was a child and attended art schools in both Germany (Berlin University of the Arts) and the United States (Columbia College, Chicago), pursuing a degree in Fashion Design while continuing to work with artist models in order to fine-tune my rendering skills. My speciality is costuming, particulary period and character costumes. I am a member of the Chicago Surrealist Group and incorporate the human figure into my surrealist art. Check out my blog on How to Remember your Dreams & Tap into Creativity

I am concurrently completing my second degree, which is in Women and Gender Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago. I plan to go on to grad school with a special concentration on gender dynamics (such as psychological and anthropological aspects of male, female, and gender non-conformist behaviour, communication, and societal perceptions, especially in pair-bond relationships). Sherlock fans would enjoy my other blog the Science of Sexuality in "Sherlock," Missed Clues on Irene Adler, and a Pheneylethylamine Float

In my studies of the masculine physique, I couldn't help but notice that Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Matthew Cohn look similar from certain angles. Cohn is affiliated with "Obscura," a Fortean curiosities shop in New York City which specializes in medical anomalies. Cohn and Cumberbatch aren't identical, but both have similar facial proportions and structures; smooth, square hairline: a straight, narrow nose: slim face tapering off at the chin: tall, slim build and lean muscle tone.

Frontal pose (head tilted slight forward)
The lighting creates similar shading patterns. The most obvious difference between the two of them is the eyes. Cumberbatch's eyes are shaped like parallelograms, whereas Cohn's are more elliptical. Likewise, Cumberbatch's eyebrows have a sharper angle toward the sides, and Cohn's are straighter. Both have similar curvature of the jawline. Cunberbatch's shoulders slop at slightly more of an angle than Cohn's, but that may also be due to the padding in the jackets.

The hair looks similar, but looks can be deceiving. The natural hair colour of Cumberbatch is a ginger/light auburn, although a lighter auburn than Diana Rigg's hair in "The Avengers" (1965 - 1968). His hair is also curlier than that of Cohn's. Lighter hair colour creates the appearance of smoothing out facial features (i.e. make them seem less angular), lighter hair also makes a man look a tad bit younger.

Frontal pose (head tilted down at a side angle)

Cohn and Cumberbatch are both rather stylish men whose elegance make them well suited to be artist models. Their poses have a classic charm and do a good job of capturing masculine elegance. Although I am not normally a fan of men in suits (my designs for men are more diverse), I do appreciate a well tailored suit on someone who wears it well.

I find it appropriate that Cohn's work is on articulating human (and other specie's) skulls, since much of my artwork focuses on studying the human figure (skeletal, musculature, movement, and function). I don't have a real human skull in my collection of surrealist oddities, but I do have a few bird skulls. I utilize a life size replica of the human skull as well as a life size anatomical head with musculature. These items are invaluable for a figure drawing artist.

3/4 angle facing down
Not exactly the same angle, but it is visible that the general outline of the the head is very similar: neither of them has a prominent brow ridge, thus smoothing out the forehead: shape of their zygomatic arch (i.e. cheekbone) are close in form and position. Cohn's nose is more angular and his facial muscles are relaxed. Cumberbatch is slightly tensing his brow and eyes. The fact that the light source is coming from a slightly different direction in each photo creates a varied play on shadow.

Cohn and Cumberbatch make great artist models. This has only been a general comparison. There are more  differences than the ones I mentioned. I find this will assist me in my further studies of male facial features and angles, as well as work on light and shadow. These kind of camparative studies help to fine-tune spotting the minute differences which make each face unique.

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