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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

The art of Tatsuji Okawa, 1904–1994

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More from Japan. I found some of Tatsuji Okawa’s bondage drawings on a website some years ago but there was no information about the artist other than his name. The reproductions were also poor quality, being grainy scans from books. These drawings are from the excellent Japanese Gay Art site, a wonderful resource that also sells the work on display. Most of the drawings deal with bondage and/or humiliation—popular themes in Japanese porn—but there are a few portrait-style pieces like the ones below. No surprise to read that Yukio Mishima enjoyed Okawa’s work.

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Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive

 


Foreign appearances

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My work has appeared in a couple of foreign collections recently, each approaching popular culture from very different directions. The volume above is called Steampunk Japan Fashion Book according to a German bookseller although the title may read differently to Japanese speakers. This was published at the end of last year, and features my ever-popular covers for the Angry Robot editions of two steampunk novels by KW Jeter, Infernal Devices and Morlock Night. The book is the work of a collective who call themselves The Japanese Steampunkers.

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Meanwhile in France, Imaginaires #19: Les cultures populaires aujourd’hui is a collection of academic pieces about popular culture published by ÉPURE, Éditions et Presses universitaires de Reims. Inside there’s an essay by Xavier Giudicelli (University of Reims Chamapgne-Ardenne), The Picture of Dorian Gray et la culture populaire: du texte à la bande dessinée, which compares Wilde’s novel to various graphic adaptations. Xavier wrote to me some time ago about my Dorian Gray adaptation for the Russ Kick-edited Graphic Canon (2012) so the piece includes some of my remarks about my interpretation together with two of the pages.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Picturing Dorian Gray

 


Weekend links 294

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Painting by Alex Tavoularis.

• There are silent films, and then there is Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927), a five-and-a-half hour historical drama following the emperor’s life from boyhood to the invasion of Italy. The word “epic” is overused but Gance’s film demands the description: in addition to the recreation of huge battles and scenes from the French Revolution, cinema screening required three projectors for sequences which are either multi-screen or three times the width of the Academy ratio. The film was revived in the early 1980s after an extensive restoration by Kevin Brownlow, but Napoleon is still more talked about than seen so news of a forthcoming digital release by the BFI is very welcome indeed. The poster above is from this collection which includes more information about the film and its troubled history. Related: a trailer for a 2012 screening at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

• “His films broke with traditional production methods, having virtually no shooting script and capturing the freshness of their genesis.” RIP Jacques Rivette. In 1998 Frédéric Bonnaud talked to Rivette about the director’s cinematic likes and dislikes. Elsewhere, Jonathan Romney speculates that Rivette’s Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974) “might be the only film in which the story is dreamed by a passing cat”.

Strange Flowers‘ selects 16 books for (what’s left of) 2016. Stand-out for me is Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné by Linda Gertner Zatlin which will be published in May. Two cased volumes, a total of 1104 pages, and a price tag of $300.

It’s a powerful trope, but it also risks trading one stigma for another: ‘‘Phobia’’ is now so embedded in our language that it’s easy to forget that it is a metaphor comparing bigots to the mentally ill. The comparison also has the effect of excusing those Americans—like certain presidential candidates in the 2016 race—who wield prejudices strategically. It’s not your fault if you get sick. But hating people is a choice.

Amanda Hess on how “-phobic” became a weapon in the identity wars

• Delving into the shadowy world of occult art: Priscilla Frank talks to Pam Grossman about her Language of the Birds exhibition. Related: “The occult never quite goes away,” says Kenneth Anger.

• “It was a magic day in our happy, young lives.” A proposal for a monument in Baltimore celebrating the final scene of John Waters’ Pink Flamingos.

• Mixes of the week: Wrap Up Warm Mix by Moon Wiring Club, Secret Thirteen Mix 175 by Inner8, and FACT mix 533 by Roly Porter.

• “He was less an architect than a Busby Berkeley with a penchant for Black Masses.” Jonathan Meades on Albert Speer.

• More film posters: Benjamin Lee on the compromises that have made contemporary posters “drab and uninspiring”.

• The vast and ghostly landscape of “Britain’s only desert”: photographs by Robert Walker.

Wyrd Daze, Lvl2 Issue 5, is free and brimming with the weird.

• The films of Michael Mann in 44 shots.

Laurie Anderson‘s favourite films.

Flamingo (1959) by Henry Mancini | Moon Occults The Sun (2006) by Espers | The Moon Occults Saturn at Dawn (2015) by Steve Moore

 


The Making of an Englishman: Emeric Pressburger

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After Powell & Pressburger together, then Powell solo, here’s a biographical portrait of Emeric Pressburger by his grandson, Kevin MacDonald. Pressburger wrote the scripts of the films made under The Archers name, and Powell was the director, of course, but the pair always insisted on a shared credit for writing, production and direction. The Archers films were true “Third Mind” creations which is why (Peeping Tom aside) Powell or Pressburger working alone often seemed diminished.

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The Making of an Englishman (1995) was Kevin MacDonald’s first documentary which he’s since followed with others including the excellent Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (1998) and Touching the Void (2003), and feature films such as The Last King of Scotland (2006) and The Eagle (2011). His film about Emeric Pressburger was a welcome counterweight to the attention given to Michael Powell in The Archers partnership. Pressburger was Jewish, and emigrated to Britain from Hungary to escape the Nazis. This experience famously informs the script of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), and it was Pressburger’s Continental character and an outsider’s eye that helps set the films of The Archers apart from those being made in Britain during the 1940s.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The South Bank Show: Michael Powell
Powell & Pressburger: A Pretty British Affair
The Rite of Spring and The Red Shoes
Michael Powell’s Bluebeard revisited
The Tale of Giulietta

 


The South Bank Show: Michael Powell

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This is the other great TV documentary about The Archers, the focus being on Michael Powell alone this time. The first volume of Powell’s autobiography, A Life in Movies, was published in 1986 which prompted this episode of The South Bank Show. Powell got to direct this one so there are many playful visual moments while tracing a career from a chance meeting with a Hollywood film crew in the south of France to the heights of the British film industry (and, in Black Narcissus, the painted peaks of the Himalayas). If you like Powell’s films his autobiography is essential reading. For a guide to the films of The Archers I’d recommend Arrows of Desire: The Films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger by Ian Christie.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Powell & Pressburger: A Pretty British Affair
The Rite of Spring and The Red Shoes
Michael Powell’s Bluebeard revisited
The Tale of Giulietta

 


 



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