in my darkest hour, Renée

What beauties art gives us! As long as we retain them we will never be lost, never alone. (van gogh)

che ce lo proponga la destra o la sinistra: NO AL NUCLEARE

Cablogramma ambasciata Usa del dicembre 2007 pubblicato da Wikileaks/L'Espresso:

2. (U) Il Ministro Bersani ha aperto l’incontro dando il benvenuto al Segretario Bodman e dichiarandosi pronto a firmare l’accordo bilaterale e Dichiarazione di Principi sulla Partnership Globale sull’Energia Nucleare (GNEP) . 

Riferendosi al referendum del 1987 che aveva di fatto bandito la generazione di energia nucleare in Italia ha detto che "l'Italia non è esclusa dalla generazione di energia nucleare, è stata solo sospesa”. 

Secondo Bersani la GNEP può giocare un ruolo importante nel modificare gli atteggiamenti italiani nei confronti dell’energia nucleare. 

this is not a film (jafar panahi)

Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi's "This Is Not A Film" ("In Film Nist" in Farsi) premiered at Cannes on Thursday after being smuggled out of the Islamic republic where the dissident has been sentenced to six years in jail.

It depicts a day in Panahi's life as he waits to hear the appeal's verdict on his jail sentence, as well as a 20-year filmmaking and travel ban.

While co-director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb shoots him on video—and sometimes just leaves the camera running when he’s not there—Panahi reads and acts out scenes from a movie he’s been forbidden to make, about a girl who’s been imprisoned in her house by her family to prevent her from going to university. 

After all, no one has said he can’t read or act. So Panafi tapes off an area of a Persian rug in his spacious high-rise home to represent the girl’s room, and maps out the action.

On speaker phone, we also hear Panahi discuss his plight with his female lawyer, who is pessimistic. She predicts the 20-year ban might be removed, but at best his prison term will just be reduced...

happy endings are all alike;

every unhappy ending is unhappy in its own way. self-portrait in rome 2011

the half-life of love affairs

Long before all that jazz I got sick, and he called to see how I was, then showed up at my hotel room door.

He observed me all feverish and disheveled in my nightgown and I thought, “I don’t even know him, and he brings me medicine - what a nice guy!”

Except there are no nice guys; just ones with different degrees of attraction to you, plus all the different degrees of their inclination to act on it.

Cut to months later, in which I’m carrying this slowly decaying feeling around, waiting for it to die, trying not to get infected.

They say it ain’t over till the fat lady sings and I’m looking for her in every joint in town, wanting to grab her and say “Goddamn it, sing lady – sing!”

the solaris report

Rome is more beautiful than Buenos Aires, but in its solaris aspect it is just as asphyxiating.
Maybe that’s why when I call those of my friends who supposedly live here, they all answer things like “I’m in Berlin for a couple of weeks” or “I’m in Tunisia watching the revolution” or “I’m in London till Easter.”

I have Roman friends in Amsterdam, Paris. Also one friend who does live here, but says things like, “Life is elsewhere. Let’s move to Copenhagen.”

In my first years in Manhattan, I was befriended by a band of Israelis. They were all traumatized by the things they’d seen and done in the Occupied Territories, and had fled as soon as their military service was over.

In New York they worked hard and did a lot of drugs, but even so, they couldn’t help remembering the war. Eventually though, one by one they returned to Israel, where they joined kibbutzes, had children.

In LA, I was befriended by a band of Texans. They took me under their wing, invaded my house with cases of beer, took me to no name clubs in Silver Lake to see bands like the White Stripes before they were famous, also to Mexican dives featuring Chicano drag queens.

Later when I moved back to New York, I was befriended by a band of Oklahomans. We’d met in London, but Manhattan was where we really bonded.

Like my Israeli and Texan friends they were a passionate, affectionate, boisterous and hard-drinking people. They nursed me out of my post-divorce stress syndrome, invited me into their homes, took me to see the Flaming Lips in Prospect Park.

Ian Brown says Home Is Where The Heart Is, Stendhal says Home Is Where We Meet Those Who Resemble Us. If that’s the case then mine is wherever the free spirits roam. Also wherever they are being held against their will, like jafar panahi’s prison cell in Iran. 

once upon a time i dressed so fine

it's like all those things happened in a dream to someone else
 self-portrait in buenos aires 2008

sydney in the house

One of the reasons I loved working on our cambodian film is almost everyone on the crew was multi-talented. 
Among them was Alex: not only can he pull focus and handle a hasselblad, he also plays in this arty-intellectual rock band from Sydney called winter people. Alex is the cute guy with the drum.

when i was a child i knew that we would get closer (hercules & love affair)

Hoy paseando con le baron de charlus conocimos a beatrice, de un año y medio, y ella nos regaló estas flores.

Today in the park we met Beatrice, one and a half.
"Bau!" she said, and gave us these flowers.

What can I say...? I cried, which didn't bother her because like all children she could tell the difference between sad tears and happy tears.

laika one two

Il est bon d'aimer autant que l'on peut, car c'est lá que git la vraie force... ce qui se fait par amour est bien fait.

Hay que amar lo más posible: ahí reside la verdadera fuerza. Lo que está  hecho por amor es bien hecho.

van gogh

le mot juste (flaubert)

motto (Italian for pledge, sentence; pluralmottos or mottoes) is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. In informal ways, it can be a rule or slogan someone follows, or lives their life by.

Mariel gave me the above-pictured object a couple of years ago, adding: "You'll be so much happier once you stop thinking with your p***y and start thinking with your head Stef."

Which was endearing in a way, because it meant that, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary, she had hopes for my ability to make sane choices in the four-letter department.

Thank god I just found her present again: some mottoes may be harder to live by than others, but then again, this is why we need good friends to give us recall from time to time.

longtemps, je me suis couchée de bonne heure (proust)

du coté de chez stef: here, every day, we take a stroll with le baron de charlus

peut-on aimer ceux qui n'aiment pas marcel?

Those who love girlontape know that her world is divided into those who read proust and those who do not; she's even been known to paraphrase the duchesse de guermantes on the subject of odette, as follows:

"There wouldn't be anything to talk about any more if one were obliged to make the acquaintance of the proust-less!"

But the heart has its reasons, which reason doth not know: so girlontape has sometimes formed passionate attachments to just such people. 

One of these is mariel: has any friend been more loyal, more tender, more fierce, more bravely loving?

Little did it matter that, a tough kid from a tough hood, mariel never finished high school, and thus could not be expected to know that marcel even exists.

Imagine my face the day I had the following conversation with her, three years ago:

stef: Hey... what are you up to?

mariel: I just started Within a Budding Grove.

stef: Come again?!?

mariel: Well I finished Swann's Way yesterday, so -

stef: I'm not sure I understand.

mariel: Didn't you say The World Is Divided Into Those Who Read Proust And Those Who Don't?

stef: Yeah, but -

mariel: It's a good book. Kinda trippy.

Now that was a proof of love, such as this world needs more of; and also proof that one may indeed sometimes love the unprousted (as long as they end up reading proust).

death be not proud, for thou cannot kill me (john donne)

Like kartina would say, every week has its own obsessions: mine right now is the British Orpheus, aka henry purcellHe died aged 36, having given the world some of its most sublime music. 

Among his greatest interpreters are klaus nomi, who died aged 39, and andreas scholl... who thankfully is still here to regale us with his art.

Here's what andreas says about klaus: "He was one of the first victims of AIDS in the music world. He wasn’t accepted in music academies, so he worked as a baker and as an extra in the Essen Opera House.

Later he left Germany to live in New York, where he became a member of a vibrant world of eccentric artists as part of the gay music scene. He always had these wonderful costumes – some people claim that David Bowie copied Klaus Nomi’s style. He was on the verge of a huge breakthrough when he died."

Here is one of Klaus' last performances of Henry's marvelous cold song, when he was already mortally ill: 

And here is Andreas' tribute to Klaus, from his 2011 recording of Purcell songs and arias:

What power art thou
Who from below
Hast made me rise
Unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow?

je vois que la nature m'a raconté quelque chose (van gogh)

what content is mine
to see these trees, which have appear’d
from the nativity of time,
and which all ages have rever’d,
to look today as fresh and green
as when their beauties first were seen

henry purcell