Burning

I hoped the award-winning Burning would be an absorbing, compelling film. It might be for some viewers, but I gave up on this nihilistic story about three lost young people. The main character is a young man in his 20s who tries to keep his family farm going as his parents are gone.

While in Seoul he bumps into an old classmate, a pretty girl who reminds him that before she had plastic surgery, this gawky hero had told her she was ugly. She soon lures him into her world and has him watching her cat as she gallivants around Africa where she meets a destructive Korean jet setter.

Most of what I saw was a series of awkward scenes of this odd trio. The hero hopes to win the girl’s love, who’s smitten with the rich guy, who doesn’t care an iota for the girl and even indicates this to the weak, lovesick boy.

The rich kid shares that his big hobby is setting old green houses on fire. Soon after that I turned off the DVD. The slick film’s characters were too empty and soulless for me.

Kusama Infinity

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Kusama Infinity is a documentary about the pop artist Yayoi Kusama. Proceeding in chronological order, the film begins with information on Kusama’s youth and her struggle to become an artist when her mother would tear up her work and she received no encouragement from her parents. Despite the restrictions for traveling abroad or taking money out of Japan in the 1960s, Kusama does leave for New York where she strives to make it in the art world, which was dominated by Western men.

We see her geometric art, full of simple circles and lines, which represent infinity. We see how she uses mirrors and mirror balls to delight and memorize. We learn about her disappointing relationships, her depression and the people who supported her.

Yet after an hour I felt the film was dragging and I tired of the 1960s-70s avant garde scene. I wished there was some acknowledgment that while she had her struggles, Kusama did receive a great deal of acclaim, freedom and wealth.

Wright’s American System Homes

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Yesterday I went to Milwaukee where I toured two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s American System Built Homes. In the early 20th century, Wright wanted to design beautiful, affordable homes. He designed a number of components for houses and the idea was that the buyers could choose which parts they wanted in their house.  The house above is 800 square feet and has two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room and small dining area.

A non-profit in Milwaukee bought this home and restored it. On this street there is a duplex by Wright and another Wright home, which is now a VRBO accommodation. There are pictures online and I’m not a fan of the white, modern kitchen. The house above has been completely restored and I could live there happily ever after, though I’d like a different stove.

When built, these homes were priced on par with comparable houses at $3,000 circa 1916.

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Frank Lloyd Wright Duplexes

On the tour we learned about how Wright partnered with Mr. Robinson, a builder. Wright left for Japan and allowed Robinson to start building. While Wright was away, Robinson changed which materials would be used in the homes, swapping Wright’s materials for cheaper ones. They weren’t shoddy, but weren’t up to Wright’s standards.

Down the street was a duplex that this non-profit has purchased. Now the first duplex is about to be restored. It’s bare bones now, but still interesting to see. I plan to go back in a few years when it’s finished.

There are more of these American System Built Homes throughout the Midwest. Our docent believes there are several that are covered up with siding and the owners may not know their significance.

On China

I follow a good blog on China called China Change. It’s a good source of information on Chinese government, particularly stories that don’t make the news. Here’s what I read this week. You can read the entire article by clicking here.

On June 6, Ms. Huang Wan (黄婉) received her “certificate of release from community correction” (解除社区矫正证明书) from the Justice Bureau of Chaoyang District in Beijing. From that day on, she was a free woman, and she had made plans to travel to the United States for a long-waited reunion with her aging parents.

“From December 1, 2013,” she wrote on her Twitter the same day. “I have been subject to two days of detention without due process, 319 days of residential surveillance at a designated place (指定地点监视居住), 590 days in a detention center, 10 days of release pending investigation (取保候审), and 1095 days of community correction, making a total of 2016 days that I have been without freedom.”

But on June 4, just two days before the release was to take effect, Huang received notice of a civil lawsuit — supposedly over a rental disagreement — in which she was one of the defendants. The court used this as grounds to file a request with the “relevant departments” to deny Huang permission to exit China. The request was approved immediately. Moreover, the court refused to give her a written notice of this restriction.

Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday 452 : 12 January 2019

This week’s prompt challenges us with a photo of a train wreck in Ireland and the workers starting to get things back on track. (Excuse the pun.)

I searched for an array of train photos to fit this theme. Here’s what I discovered.

You can see more Sepia Saturday train photos by clicking here.

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SMU Digital Library, Barclay Road, 1895

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UK National Archives, Northern Line Tain, 1946

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National Archives, Off the Rails, 1868

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Irish Railroad Society, 1959

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Internet Archives, Shanon , PA, 1908

 

Sepia Saturday

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Dance is this week’s Sepia Saturday theme and I have found all kinds of different dances and dancers. Enjoy!

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Dancing in an Egyptian Tomb, National Archives of Estonia, 1910

I’m not convinced that’s a real tomb.

Ruth St. Denis (above) was an early pioneer of modern dance. She taught Martha Graham.

You can see more dancing posts by clicking here.

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Japanese high school girls learning to dance – 1926

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Midsummer Dance, Swedish Heritage Board, 1931

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VFW Hall Dance, US National Archives, 1946

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Tables & Chairs

Each week Cee challenges bloggers to share black and white photos based on a theme. This week she’s challenging us to share black and white photos of tables and chairs. 

For more black and white photos, click here.

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