Tuesday, July 31, 2018

For The Price Of An SUV...

And speaking of flying objects, gotta admit- this is pretty freaking cool! And they kept it simple and supposedly affordable by keeping the car part outta the equation. And at (another supposed) 5 min to learn to fly in a simulator- I could see a whole lotta drunken accidents falling from the sky... More here.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Trump (Golf) Baby- USA edition

They actually ended a Bring Trump Baby to the USA drive early on Go Fund Me because they received... too much money!!! The plan is to fly it next to his golf course in New Jersey- BRILLIANT! Just wish MACY'S would have the balloons to fly it in their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade extravaganza...

Thursday, July 26, 2018

This Land

Photos: Bruce Gilden

I went to A LOTTA photo galleries in New York between the mid seventies and late nineties, saw a lot of photography, good and bad. From the original Witkin, to the once fabled Light Gallery, on to SoHo, then Chelsea. A LOTTA good shows!

But I've never quite seen anything quite as all encompassingly GOOD! as the show at Pier 24 in San Francisco right now! Kinda like the Golden State Warriors- a collection of some of the best work by some of the best contemporary players that effectively gels into one solid All Star theme... To be honest, there have been quite a few exemplary shows at Pier 24, but they were mostly "greatest hits" conglomerations from the tried and true photo brand names already seen countless times in countless venues. Tremendous for the uninitiated, a quick, tumultuous dive into the best and greatest names in the history of photography- not so much if you're thirsting for something current or new.

This Land is a pretty damn good representation of America in the here and now from sea to shining sea, by many a current working master  (eg- Gilden, Goldberg, Misrach, Soth...)- and is by no means limited to landscape, as we very much get to see and experience the people and faces that inhabit this land, in all its vast greatness, and shame. Of course, you can probably think of other photographers making very valuable contributions to just this theme that were, in fact, excluded, names like: Matt Eich, Dave Jordano, Zoe Strauss and most inexplicably... Matt Black, to name but a few.

All told however, it is an exemplary exhibit- dare I say The best photography exhibit I've ever witnessed!? And... After you've seen and pondered all this great photography in room after room of this cavernous space, you then have the great privilege of sitting down to watch Jim Nares' video Street- a thoroughly mesmerizing one hour long video of Manhattan street corners shot riding by in super slow-mo. Watching it slowly reveals anew the poetry and magic that has been inspiring street photographers for decades...

And did I mention this entire Extravaganza is absolutely 100% free? Reservations required, up till March 2019; make-your-plans...

Monday, July 23, 2018

Made Me Laugh...

I enjoy a dark sense of humor. Even before my post pubescent life came crashing down all about me, I was always attuned to the absurd, which of course, only grows ever darker and yet more absurd with the very passage of life itself. I still remember my instant delight upon first hearing "dead baby" jokes; purposely crude, but inexplicably hilarious (at least at the time), as if simultaneously realizing they somehow granted license to laugh at whatever inequities life would throw one's way. 

Photo: © Stan Banos

Like music, humor is marvelously varied and intensely personal; it can be incredibly complex and nuanced, or the most simple of juvenile releases! I can be highly critical as to humor and language aimed at certain groups of people- but it can be "all good," if the conversation is all inclusive. It's one precariously narrow road to traverse- and does take a certain amount of comic genius and sensitivity to navigate (safely and) successfully- but if you can't laugh at you and yours, don't laugh at others... simple enough.

Along similar waters, was never a big fan of your typical "dirty" joke, which also suffers from a hopelessly predictable rhythm/plot line- along with the most thoroughly misguided attempts at infusing childishly sophomoric "wit" into tired, second hand humor. After which, everyone is obliged to laugh- or risk being exposed for not having the intellectual prowess of your average twelve yr old... "nudge nudge, wink wink." And that said, "dirty" jokes are light years ahead of racist so called "jokes."

So, when I saw the writing on the wall, I didn't expect much, let alone humor; but being San Francisco (what good there's left), I made the effort to get closer, look down and actually read... and got sucker punched into... Absurdity! 

I have no idea if this is a guy I'd wanna share the proverbial few beers with, but this I do know- he was genuinely funny, at least once in his life.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Only A Matter Of Time...

Treason- The constitution of the United States, art. 3, s. 3, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war (q.v.) against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort (emphasis mine)

I'm sure some people would say this is going Waaaaaaaaay too far! But when our own intelligence agencies right here in the US of A have categorically stated that Russia has launched repeated cyber attacks against the US (with NO sign of stopping), and Trump repeatedly goes out of his ever lovin' way to single handedly provide Putin with aid, comfort and succor... What the hell is anyone in their right mind supposed to think!?!?!?!

Photo: © Stan Banos

Personally, I'm going on out and getting rip roaring drunk when Mr. Mueller wraps up and shows his cards! I don't think I've ever endured such all out anxious anticipation- probably since the first Ali-Frazier Fight of the Century. But the stakes are considerably higher here, and oh, how I'd love to be a fly on the proverbial wall!

PS-  And a Good Time will be had, cause when I awake- it's gonna be one helluva nasty hangover called... Pence.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


Remember when Republicans used to scream, "Better DEAD than RED!"

Remember when Repubs accused Dems of being... "FLIP-FLOPPERS!"

Remember when Repubs pilloried: Radicals with deferments, Radicals who demeaned POW's, Radicals who mocked Gold Star Families?

Remember when US Presidents (who spoke English) didn't need entire cadres of translators to interpret and then reinterpret what they meant vs. what they said?

I do.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Old Dog/New Trick

Photo: Jeff Mermelstein
Jeff Mermelstein is a famous, name street/art photographer/professor. And as of late, he has undergone a rather drastic metamorphosis. For one thing, this rather traditional sixty yr old has traded in his Leica for a smart phone- in an era when many a 25 yr old photo enthusiast is opting to buy said camera to practice what he spent time perfecting some... 25 yrs ago. It's also interesting to note that many established artists that change styles as they mature also tend to minimalize their art to those most basic, essential parts that best expedite the delivery of the goods. Perhaps acknowledgement of certain days remaining causes them to streamline a delivery system that maximizes the message sans the wasted time and effort.

Well, Mr. Mermelstein certainly has cut to the chase in his most recent photo project. Technical expertise: minimal. Composition: minimalist. Lighting: supplied by subject matter. The guy's literally using his cell phone to take pictures of... other cell phones, more specifically- actual, on screen text  messages. 

Now, some will scream: Unlawful invasion of privacy! But every so called "street photographer" well knows that pretty much anything within public view is fair game- and very much, perfectly legal. But these are private messages between private individuals! True- but again, done in public view, in a public setting (identifying info deleted). N'est-ce pas? Hey, I can hear it either way to be perfectly honest. And perhaps this will, in fact, all be settled on down the road by two very angry litigants standing before someone with a much higher pay scale. I know I'd instinctively react with a few choice words if I caught Ol' Jeff peering down my shoulder up close and personal! I'm surprised no one as of yet, has responded with something considerably... more forceful. Also, strange how the critics at large out there are still not crowing one way or the other about something so timely, unique and potentially subversive; surprisingly little has been made of it (see latter half of post). Perhaps this is something so divisive, enough people (like myself) don't quite know where to stand!

So.... is it art? Most definitely! Inarguably a new way of seeing- an insanely simple, direct and revelatory way of documenting what is going on in the very hearts and minds of early 21st Century earthlings, of whom a good third now occupy every public space and cranny faces buried deep in their miniature communication mirrors. And... it's all so inherently controversial; tres magnifique- art at it's grandest!

Ahhhh... but is it good photography, ask the photo purists. No, most definitely not. But it's certainly one damn good use of photography!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

PetaPixel's Celebration of Misogyny...

The following is my emailed response to a post (and ensuing commentary) on Petapixel concerning... "Diversity!" 
I hope the present situation does not stand...   Full Disclosure: I have been banned on PetaPixel.

Well done! A post on "Diversity" featuring what seems an all male commentary who go out of their way to prove just how marvelously close minded and/or misogynist they truly are- and not one of them (or y-o-u) can even see, let alone respond to, that most blatant of irony!!!

And it seems the one woman who commented earlier has had her comments deleted- Exceptionally well done!!!

I don't know what she said to offend your official board of "ethics," but I'm betting she finally mouthed off after repeatedly getting pummeled by the usual torrent of misogynists who inhabit your bit of bandwidth.  The comments I previously read by her (before deletion) were logical, well mannered and on topic...

Thank you, for leading by example and exhibiting just how hostile an all male environment can become for women....

Addendum: More comments have appeared overnight, a couple fortunately sane...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Flaneur Fasciitis

Photo: © Stan Banos

I've always loved to walk, always been my primary mode of transportation- which is why I can only live in real cities... ie- cities you can get around in- without a car! And if you tend to photograph on the street, as do I (even though I am not considered an official street photographer, someone once said I was more a... flaneur- which kinda sounds like a French perv in a flannel shirt), your feet are tres important!

In my younger days I would easily walk from The Battery to 59St in NYC on a warm summer day, take a shower and be out ready to party. True, that was a while ago, but I can still out walk the average person my age, and younger. Recently however, the soles of my feet have begun to hurt, even upon waking- not fun. Thought it was temporary at first, but it's going on a year now, and I'm not quite ready to become sedentary by any means! Tried various gels/inserts, and while they do supply some relief- the pain is still very much there!

Truth is, everything starts to unravel with age (even my rear has gotten noticeably thinner in its natural padding last coupla years on my bike); but after the mandatory research, discovered I've got plantar fasciitis- the good news is there are actually some good, simple exercises (stretches really) that one can do to help alleviate the actual pain. I've just begun doing them (video: here) and I'm happy to say I do, in fact, feel some immediate relief. Hopefully, it's not just in my head (things have really thinned out up there)- we're gonna find out... 

Addendum: And this vid says to stretch... in the opposite direction!!!

Friday, July 6, 2018


Photo: © Stan Banos

For reasons unknown, recently, I have not been notified of many of the Comments sent this way! As a result, quite a few just languished about on a separate page. I don't know why that is now occurring, and realistically... probably never will. So, apologies all around for the apparent disrespect; I know just how freakin' frustrating it can be to try and actively engage, only to be ignored- and seemingly pooped on. I'm just gonna have to check said page from now on, on a regular basis. FWIW, over twenty comments that go back a year have now been published...

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Happy 4th of July!!!

Photo: © Stan Banos

Always used to imagine what it must have been like to live during The Fall of Rome, when I got older, that changed to the rise of The Third Reich. My god- those surely musta been some truly trambunctious times! And, of course, the truth is neither happened overnight- it was a gradual, step by step process whereupon people came to accept the incremental changes and... adjusted, begrudgingly or otherwise. Oh sure, some people complained (some people always complain)- but they were laughed at, marginalized or conveniently drowned out, until only the very loudest voice was heard- and obeyed.

I no longer fantasize about those times, I now get to witness the process on a daily, real time basis: the wearing down of civility, the bending, breaking and disregard of the most basic of simple facts and truths, the demonization of those most powerless...

Republicans used to be rabidly Anti-Communist- "Better Dead than Red!" That refrain echoed in my ear growing up- now they enthusiastically embrace he who enthusiastically embraces a former KGB Chief, a 5xDeferment who openly ridiculed our most famous POW! He openly encouraged violence at campaign rallies, mocked people with disabilities, called Neo-Nazis "Good People," and described the press as, "The enemy of the people!" And how I wish that was the worst, and end of it. But it is a gradual, step-by-step process of willful distortion and manipulation- with intermittent, fully-automatic bursts of complete Bat Shit CRAZY... Can anyone ever forget The Bowling Green Massacre, can anyone possibly forgive Hillary for her insidious Child Sex Ring/Pizza Parlor!? This is the absolute insanity a once reasonably rational nation has allowed itself to become... 

"... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."        -Hermann Goering

Photo: © Stan Banos

Oh- and BTW... Yes, U Can Still Help!!!