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Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Frank Espada, more photos

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on January 2, 2015

Here are more photographs taken by Frank Espada. Photos provided courtesy of his son, Jason Espada.

[I originally posted these in May of last year, but pulled them because Frank’s photos were being considered for inclusion by a number of institutions and collections, and putting them online would have compromised those efforts.]

Frank Espada: Couple Smiling

Frank Espada: Couple Smiling


Frank Espada: Fountain House 1

Frank Espada: Fountain House 1


Frank Espada: Fountain House 2

Frank Espada: Fountain House 2


Frank Espada: Fountain House 3

Frank Espada: Fountain House 3


Frank Espada: Four Kids in the Doorway

Frank Espada: Four Kids in the Doorway


Frank Espada: Grace at Promesa

Frank Espada: Grace at Promesa


Frank Espada: Jack Agueros with Saints

Frank Espada: Jack Agueros with Saints


Frank Espada: Jason with Torn Paper

Frank Espada: Jason with Torn Paper


Frank Espada: Lisa at Four

Frank Espada: Lisa at Four


Frank Espada: Man at Bar

Frank Espada: Man at Bar


Frank Espada: Manhattan Valley

Frank Espada: Manhattan Valley


Frank Espada: Margarite

Frank Espada: Margarite


Frank Espada: School Boycott, New York, 1964

Frank Espada: School Boycott, New York, 1964


Frank Espada: Malcolm X, 1964

Frank Espada: Malcolm X, 1964


Frank Espada: School Boycott, New York, 1964, 2

Frank Espada: School Boycott, New York, 1964, 2


Frank Espada: School Boycott, New York, 1964, 3

Frank Espada: School Boycott, New York, 1964, 3


Frank Espada: March on Washington 1

Frank Espada: March on Washington 1


Frank Espada: March on Washington 2

Frank Espada: March on Washington 2


Frank Espada: Two Children in Guan

Frank Espada: Two Children in Guam


Frank Espada: Two Girls Smiling

Frank Espada: Two Girls Smiling


Frank Espada: Yes 1

Frank Espada: Yes 1


Frank Espada: Yes 2

Frank Espada: Yes 2


Frank Espada: From the Racetrack

Frank Espada: From the Racetrack


Frank Espada: Three Siblings, Central Park, 1964

Frank Espada: Three Siblings, Central Park, 1964

Frank Espada: At the Puerto Rican Community Development Project Picnic, NY 1967

Frank Espada: At the Puerto Rican Community Development Project Picnic, NY 1967

Frank Espada: New York Institute of Photography 1954

Frank Espada: New York Institute of Photography 1954


Frank Espada Photography
An obituary
Another obituary

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Posted in Frank Espada, life, photography | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

“The Last Bookstore” in Los Angeles

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 3, 2014

I feel lucky to live in the Bay Area. We have a wealth of riches with regard to independent bookstores in the region, and I do my bit to shop at them every chance I get. I witnessed the proliferation of Barnes & Noble in New York City during the 80s and 90s and how that decimated the indie bookstores there. While I lived in Southern California, I studiously avoided having anything to do with Los Angeles, so I didn’t see firsthand the obliteration of small local bookstores there, other than the demise of the lefty Midnight Special bookstore in Santa Monica. So here’s The Last Bookstore, located at 453 S. Spring St, Ground Floor, in downtown LA:

The Last Bookstore by Bryan Frank
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The Last Bookstore, currently in our third incarnation, began in 2005 in a downtown Los Angeles loft. That was when owner Josh Spencer decided to take his decade of experience selling everything from cars to clothes on eBay and focus entirely on his first love: books. Our online business grew quickly along with the revival of downtown LA. When a small location in the Old Bank District at 4th and Main became available Christmas 2009, we jumped in and opened our doors to the public. The support from the community was overwhelming. Thanks, everybody!

People seemed to especially enjoy selling their used books to us, as one of the last places in LA still buying books. Our inventory quickly overflowed the shelves, and at the end of our lease June 2011 the Last Bookstore moved to the 10,000 sq. ft location at 5th & Spring St. A record shop and coffee bar filled out the ground floor September, 2011. Most recently, we expanded another 6,100 sq. ft. by opening up the Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore on our mezzanine level, with over 100,000 books all priced at one dollar each! Now we’ve become the largest independent bookstore in California buying and selling used & new books and records.

The name was chosen with irony, but it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as physical bookstores are dying out like dinosaurs from the meteoric impact of Amazon and e-books. With our constant turnover of stock, regular musical and literary events, vinyl LP and graphic novel shops, and the Spring Arts Collective sharing our space, we book-lovers at the Last Bookstore hope to last as long as we can in downtown LA’s vibrant new community. Join the cause! Buy, sell, trade, and above all read real books…before they’re gone.

Here’s a great KCRW feature that says what we’re all about even better!: KCRW
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Posted in independent bookstores, life, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How is this even possible

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 7, 2014

San Francisco, Paris, New York; three cities I can never get enough of. That’s why I’ve periodically visited them (or lived in them) over the past thirty years, always marveling at the sights and sounds of these world-class, world famous cities. Photographer Duane Michals has an exhibit currently making the rounds (at DC Moore Gallery through May 31, 2014) titled “Empty New York.” It features black and white pictures of subway cars, barber shops, bodegas, laundromats, even Coney Island, without a single person present, something quite unimaginable to New York City residents. Shooting photographs since the late 1950’s, Michals is inspired by Eugene Atget, who did his own series of photos using the streets of Paris as subject. Here’s the museum page, and below, some of the pictures. Haunting, and gorgeous.
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Empty New York, c. 1964

FROM THE MUSEUM PRESS RELEASE:
Comprised of thirty rare gelatin silver prints dating from the 1960s, the exhibition focuses exclusively on Michals’ early exploration of transitional early morning moments in New York City shops, parks, subway cars, and train stations. This is the first time these photographs have been exhibited as a group.

The images in this exhibition, taken over a half a century ago, include New York landmarks such as Penn Station, the Metropolitan Opera House, and Washington Square Hotel as well as ordinary locales, such as a laundromat, a shoeshine station, or an empty booth in a neighborhood diner. The series reflects Duane Michals’ admiration for the work of French photographer Eugene Atget who memorably photographed the streets of Paris. As Michals has said,

“It was a fortuitous event for me [to discover the work of Eugene Atget in a book]. I became so enchanted by the intimacy of the rooms and streets and people he photographed that I found myself looking at twentieth –century New York in the early morning through his nineteenth-century eyes. Everywhere seemed a stage set. I would awaken early on Sunday mornings and wander through New York with my camera, peering into shop windows and down cul-de-sacs with a bemused Atget looking over my shoulder.”

Of this intellectual revelation and point of departure, Michals recollects that how for him suddenly, “Everything was theatre; even the most ordinary event was an act in the drama of my little life.” The universality of narrative, space, and their limitless capacities would set the stage for Michals proliferous and imaginative career.

Since 1958 Duane Michals has been making photographs which investigate themes of memory, mortality, love, and loss. Constantly interpreting and re-interpreting the world around him, Michals never stagnates and always finds new ways to understand the human experience through his idiosyncratic combination of philosophy, humor, history, and stark emotion.

Michal’s first solo museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1970, and he will be honored with a career retrospective opening October, 2014 at The Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. Duane Michals lives and works in New York City.

Posted in life, New York, New York City, photography, photography opening | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Parrots coming home to roost

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 20, 2014

The parrots of San Francisco have gained world fame. I covered them in an earlier blog posting here. The picture posted there was garnered from the internet whereas the ones posted here I took with my Canon PowerShot.
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Colonies of “wild” parrots have come into being in cities wherever tame birds were released by accident or design by their former owners and given the chance to breed. LA and Brooklyn also have “wild” parrots, and I use the term “wild” advisedly because they cannot yet exist outside their respective urban environments. Parrots are native to tropical countries and climates where they fly far and wide. Here, in the US and more temperate climes, they seem confined to their particular cities where they are much more reliant on their dense human populations for their survival.
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A friend in NYC once told me a story about the Brooklyn parrots. As tropical animals, the Brooklyn parrots were not at all accustomed to NYC winters, and had developed a type of colony nest with scores of parrots taking roost in structures of twigs, leaves, branches, urban detritus, etc, all built around the tops of telephone poles. Only problem was that the nesting parrots also had the habit of gnawing on the wires and the transformer boxes, inevitably frying a parrot or two, causing the colony nest to catch fire, and burning down a telephone pole with drastic results for the neighborhood and the power grid.
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These parrots flew up as I was exiting my car with my carrying bag. Their distinctive squawks immediately alerted me to their presence in the trees of a corner house, so I pulled the PowerShot from my bag and grabbed these pictures. The parrots obliged by staying put for the photo session.

Posted in life, New York City, parrots, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Going, going…

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 18, 2014

Shakespeare_and_Company_store_in_Paris
The famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris is a well known tourist destination. Actually, it was a bookstore begun by Sylvia Beach in 1919 which closed during the German occupation in 1940 and then a second bookstore founded by George Whitman in 1951, a tribute to Beach’s original which is still around.
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Shakespeare and Company is also a small chain of locally owned bookshops in New York City unaffiliated with its Paris namesake. With three locations all in Manhattan, Shakespeare and Co started in 1981. In May of this year, it was announced that the Broadway location will close due to an astronomical rent increase.
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I often visited Shakespeare and Co when I made regular pilgrimages to New York City in the 1980s and 1990s. The scourge that was (and remains) Barnes and Noble, which spread like cancer across the City and systematically killed off most of New York’s independent bookstores, is still around if financially ailing due to competition with Amazon. This mainstream New York Times obituary hopefully does not portend the overall Shakespeare chain’s demise.
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I’m constantly lamenting the death of all the joys that make living in San Francisco and New York so wonderful. The steady destruction of independent bookstores, record shops, cinemas, etc. due to urban gentrification and stratification doesn’t make me nostalgic, but rather sad and angry. A marvelous blog, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, had this to say about Shakespeare and Co. Jeremiah’s is where I first heard that Little Rickie, a famous novelty store in Manhattan, also recently closed. Little Rickie is where I bought a smokin’ fez monkey.
smokingmonkey
So fucking sad!

Posted in gentrification, independent bookstores, life, New York City, Paris, San Francisco, Shakespeare & Co | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Darkness visible

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on January 5, 2014

I’m a city person, but I’ve sometimes missed the splendor of a rural night sky. And I’ve wondered what my favorite urban environment might be like if I could see a full night of stars. Photographer Thierry Cohen provides these composite shots of my three favorite cities sans urban lighting and moonlight. Maybe like the blackout of 2003 in New York City or the 1989 Loma-Prieta earthquake in San Francisco, with no urban unrest but no electricity either. Thierry Cohen identifies each photo with the precise time, angle, and longitude and latitude of the exposure.
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New York 40° 44’ 39’’ N 2010-10-13 lst 0:04
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New York 40° 42’ 16’’ N 2010-10-09 lst 3:40
Paris 48° 51’ 03’’ N 2012-07-19 lst 19:46

Paris 48° 51’ 03’’ N 2012-07-19 lst 19:46
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San Francisco 37° 48’ 30’’ N 2010-10-09 lst 20:58
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Paris 48° 50’ 55’’ N 2012-08-13 lst 22:15
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Paris 48° 51’ 52’’ N 2021-07-14 utc 22:18

Posted in life, New York City, Paris, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »