Monday, January 26, 2015

New Costantino Proietto Paintings of Bad Kreuznach, Germany and Cattolica, Italy


The "Little Venice on the Ellerbach" area of Bad Kreuznach, in an old photograph - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com

Newly Identified Costantino Proietto Paintings of Bad Kreuznach, Germany and Cattolica, Italy

In late 2012, I wrote about a newly discovered oil painting by artist Costantino Proietto (1910-1979). On the back, the red felt-tipped inscription read “Bad Kreuznach”, which is an ancient town in Germany. In 1964, the artist had sold the painting to Ms. Marion Fortune, an American working in Germany at that "Bad Kreuznach", by 20th century artist Costantino Proietto - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.comtime. Her heir, Ms. Shelly Jenkins had recently received the painting and had planned to keep it. In early 2014, Ms. Jenkins changed her mind and sold the painting to me.

Upon its arrival, I gently cleaned the painting and then added a new custom frame. Otherwise, it looked as it did when Tino painted it, fifty years ago. Still, there was mystery surrounding the painting. With its depiction of a river scene and prominent buildings, I assumed that someone would know more about the setting. As I have learned, if I put C.Proietto images out for the Ms. Petra Tursky-Hartmann in an undated photo - Click for 2013 image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)world to see, someone will write and help me identify a particular scene.

In July of 2014, Ms. Petra Tursky-Hartmann of Frankfurt, Germany wrote to me regarding the location featured in my newly acquired C.Proietto painting. At that time, she wrote, “The two pictures show a place called ‘Little Venice on the Ellerbach’ in Bad Kreuznach (I’m born in Bad Kreuznach). The painting shows the place where the small river ‘Ellerbach’ is flowing into the larger ‘Nahe’ river. It is an historical place, where the skinners lived during the last century. Due to several floods, they were allowed to fix there balconies high over the river. Because of the heavy smell from their work, it was not the best place to go. Still, many poor people had lived there for hundreds of years. Today, animal processing is no longer allowed, but these kinds of balconies still hang over the river ‘Ellerbach’.

In the early 1960s, Bad Kreuznach was a very big American Army base; nearly 10.000 soldiers were there. So maybe, Mr. Proietto was there for an exhibition, sold paintings and then painted “Little Venice” in Bad Kreuznach. Maybe not … Who knows? One more mystery.”


Confluence of the Ellerbach and Nehe Rivers in Germany - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Ms. Tursky-Hartmann then explained that her mother may have purchased her own Costantino Proietto original oil painting while on her honeymoon in 1960, when she was twenty-eight years old. She went on to say, “Maybe, the artist had an exhibition in Bad Kreuznach at that time (1960-1964) and my mother bought the picture of Eden Teraza to remember her honeymoon? (This is pure speculation, but then, the date inscribed, 14360 would fit).”

In a subsequent email, Ms. Tursky-Hartmann provided details that are more accurate about her mother’s C.Proietto original oil painting. Its title is "Cattolica - Terraza Cafe Eden Roco Italia". “Yesterday, I visited my mother in Spabrücken, close to Bad Kreuznach, where she lives with my sister.

"Little Venice on the Ellerbach" section of Bad Kreuznach, Germany - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)I told my mother about your email. She was interested to hear what I read to her, as I translated your email.

My Mother told us, that she started to work in 1952 and went to Italy for holidays during the late 1950s. At that time, she was working as a clerk for the local Court in Bad Kreuznach. In 1959, she accompanied my father to Riccione and Cattolica, where they stayed in the Hotel Moderno.

During her earlier tours, she travelled by bus, with a group. She always had an interest in Italien Culture. In the 1950s, many Germans travelled to Riccione-Cattolica and Rimini. She liked, that the osterias and hotels were close to the sea and that dining and drinks were very cheap, and that the climate was warm.

It was not so easy for Germans to travel through
Artist Tino Proietto painted scenes in, Cattolica, Italy around 1960 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Europe after World War II. However, Italiens, she said, had no problems with the Germans, because of Mussolini’s friendship with Hitler. She said that the Germans could have good parties at Rimini.

Once, while in Cattolica, at the Terraza Cafe Eden Roco, she said she saw
a painter - maybe C.Proietto. There were several painters close to the beach offering there paintings. She remembers that this painter painted three pictures on three easels at the same time and with very high speed. With the same colours, he painted each picture.

Selecting one, she liked this picture very much from the first moment. She then bought the picture from the artist for 400 German Marks. The painter rolled the picture in a stovepipe, because she was travelling by bus with a very small suitcase. When back in Bad Kreuznach, she went to the Bechter Gallery, where they put the frame around it.

When I asked her about the year, she did not remember exactly. However, the inscription on the backside of the picture indicates
Pro 14360. If this is true, the picture was finished in March 1960. I was born on June 5, 1960. Therefore, in spring or summer of C.Proitto "Terazza Cafe Eden Roco" painting in the Tursky home in Germany, 1962 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)1960, she was definitely not in Italy for holidays. My younger sister was born on November 17, 1961, so maybe Mama was in Italy in early spring 1961.

In the photograph, you can see that the Proietto is hanging in our living room on November 17, 1962. That was during the family celebration of my younger sister’s first birthday. Mama then said that it is not important, exactly when she bought the picture. More important is, that she has the picture to remember her most beautiful moments of freedom, for her Grandmother was very strong!


"Cattolica - Terraza Cafe Eden Roco Italia" original oil painting by Costantino Proietto (1910-1979) - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)After mentally digesting everything that Ms. Tursky-Hartmann had written about her mother’s C.Proietto painting, I stopped to think about another C.Proietto I had purchased a year earlier. It too was of a seascape, featuring a prominent pergolato, with a shoreline receding into the distance. Until then, I had no clue as to its location. In his earlier works, Tino Proietto used only his signature to authenticate his own work. Later, in the 1960s and beyond, he applied a wax seal to the corner of a sticker, which authenticated each new painting.

After reviewing the details of the Tursky-Hartmann C.Proietto, I recognized certain elements contained within it. For instance, the distinctive latticework wall and the potted plants were almost identical to the ones in my mystery
Right-hand view of Terazza Cafe Eden Roco in Cattolica Italy, by artist Tino Proietto matches the left-hand view above - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)painting. If Costantino Proietto stood near the shore at Terraza Cafe Eden Roco, painting the same scene from three different angles, the result would be a tryptic, showing the broader scene.

Although painted later than mine, the Tursky-Hartmann painting would form the left panel of the tryptic. The author’s painting would form the right panel. Where, I wondered, would I find the middle panel? I surmised that it would show the scene, looking straight out to sea. As happens so often with C.Proietto paintings, they provide some answers to aspects of the mystery. Likewise, each new C.Proietto painting brings new questions with it.

Proof that both paintings are of the same scene is seen in the potted plants and lattice-work in the wall - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)With his self-designation as a “kunstmaler” (meaning production painter, in German), it could only have been Costantino Proietto at Terraza Cafe Eden Roco simultaneously creating three paintings. Why paint only one masterpiece when, as the “master of impasto”, you can paint three at a time? That would be the consummate artist, Tino Proietto, in his mid-century prime.

I offer my thanks to both Ms. Petra Tursky-Hartmann and her mother. First, they identified the location of the Marion Fortune C.Proietto as “Little Venice” in Bad Kreuznach. Then, they went on to explain the history of both known
Costantino Proietto "Terraza Cafe Eden Roco" paintings, being theirs and my own.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hollywood and Big Media: "Violence is the New Sex"


RKO Radio Pictures combined the concept of radio and motion pictures, helping popularize movies as a visual and sound medium - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Hollywood and Big Media Discover that "Violence is the New Sex"

As we begin the year 2015, it is appropriate to reflect upon what has changed in our lives. In addition to our self-centered musings, we might stop and remember our roots. Although there may be loners in our midst, from ancient times most humans lived in tribes. Because of real or perceived threats from the “Other”, defenses were created, battles fought and foes vanquished. In the past year, many tribes in this world have reverted to the ancient vortextual cycle of affront and subsequent revenge.

Is there a unifying theory that explains our current sad state of international affairs? As a contrarian, the “theory of negative creation” comes to my mind. As your mother once said, “If you do not have anything nice to say about someone, do not say it”. In 2015, many tribes again believe that confrontation and “fighting against” is the best way forward.

Big Media now serves up a steady diet of death, doom and despair, disguised as news or information - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)As of 2013, worldwide population was about seven billion. Of that, 31.5% are Christian and 23.2% are Muslim. Hindu (13.8%) and Buddhist (6.77%) are the only other religions scoring more than one percent of the total population. Surprising to me was the Jewish religion at only 0.22%. Fighting against the “Other” is a prominent theme in the Old Testament canon of the Christian Bible. The roots of the Old Testament are in the Tanakh, which is the ancient Hebrew canon. Early in the seventh century CE, yet another Abrahamic religion, Islam, codified its various stances against the “Other” in the Quran.

Together, the two largest religions, both of which had their roots in nomadic or herding cultures, encompass almost 55% of the current population. During their pre-industrial rise as mega-religions, Christianity and Islam often prescribed severe, even barbaric punishments on criminals and non-believers. Today, most self-identified Christians, Muslims and Jews disavow honor killings, revenge killings, stoning and mutilation. However, some radical Christians and Jews abide by ancient concepts of “religious war”, just as some radical Muslims countenance Jihad. Energy bridges connecting to the ancient days of each religion seem stronger now than ever before.

U.S. Representative Gabby Gifford was shot by a disaffected, mentally unbalanced young man who saw her as the enemy - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Like a stick of dynamite near a flame, it takes little or nothing to set off violence toward the “Other”. In recent weeks, a series of irreverent humor magazine covers were enough to incite terrorist acts in France. Soon after the smoke in Paris had cleared, a series of cyber-attacks followed. The cyber-attacks mimicked the recent North Korean hack of Sony Pictures, which was in revenge for release of the lowbrow satirical movie, “The Interview”.

What is “negative creation” and why does it matter? Because of our cognitive abilities, most humans believe that we are superior to any other species. Many people extend such negative thinking to other human “tribes”, religions, political and ethnic groups. Our lizard brain, which is at the core of our cognition, has great power to both project and react to fear. If we allow the rich or powerful to do the “creating” for us, their stake in power over others will skew toward negative creation.

Other than nation states and Islamist insurgencies, whom do I identify as the rich and powerful? Often, they are the top managers of our largest media conglomerates. After several decades of mergers and acquisitions, there are fewer Media Giants than ever. However, the remaining few now dominate theatrical movies, TV, internet products and old-fashioned print media.

CNN is owned by Time Warner, which also owns Warner Bros. Studios, the creator of many top-grossing, violent films - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Charlie Hebdo, the profane humor magazine that recently lit the spark of radical Islam was a small publication. Since the attacks in Paris, CNN (owned by Media Giant Time Warner) has focused the bulk of its news reporting on terror, terrorists and the risk of terror attacks in the U.S. What used to pass for regular news on CNN now appears only on the “news crawler”, at the bottom of the TV screen.

As public corporations, the main focus of Media Giants is profits, as derived from box office receipts, internet streaming revenue or TV ad sales. In the worldview of Media Giants, we, the audience should observe, absorb and consume a steady diet of visual and auditory fear mongering. Although they may still show some public service messages from time to time, fear and terror are still the best sellers at CNN and Fox News and many other Big Media outlets. Look no further than Fox News publicizing Muslim neighborhoods as supposed “No-Go-Zones" in Paris, France. In their zeal to promote Rupert Murdoch’s version of an anti-Muslim “religious war”, Fox News has discredited itself as a legitimate news organization. Even after Fox News apologized for their error, Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal doubled down on promoting the concept of "No-Go-Zones" in both France and Great Britain. When a supposedly rational elected official goes off the deep end of an argument, as Jindal has done, he discredits himself and by association, the people he was elected to serve.

Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California is responsible for making many of the top-grossing violent movies in recent history - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Before any readers get bored, I will skip to my punch line. It is this: “The Media Giant’s covert and overt promotion of gratuitous violence, internecine war and cyber war risks destroying civil society as we know it.” Warner Bros. Entertainment’s released “American Sniper” on the Friday before Martin Luther King weekend 2015. In director Clint Eastwood’s sly way, the movie avoids gratuitous violence in favor of patriotic, “justifiable violence”. In a direct affront to the non-violent ways of Dr. Martin Luther King, the movie posted a record January weekend opening of $105.3 million in box office receipts.

How, you might ask, did we get to the sad point where profit-making corporations drive and often determine what the public sees and comes to believe is true? in 1887, the original Media Giant, Randolph Hearst and his ubiquitous Hearst Corporation started its rise with his taking control of the San Francisco Examiner newspaper. Not ironically, the first motion picture cameras were under development at that time. By 1910s, Hearst was producing newsreels for theatrical release. In the 1930s, with the advent of “talking pictures”, the rise of the Media Giants accelerated. By the 1960s, the mad dash for Media Giant supremacy was well underway.

Before the U.S. Motion Picture Production Code (MPPC) took full effect in 1934, nudity and sex were acceptable subjects within Hollywood movies. Not ironically, federal laws stopped the legal sale of marijuana by the mid-1930s, as well. By 1934, with the Great Depression in full swing, moralists of every stripe tried to stop drugs, alcohol and “dirty movies” from reaching consumers. Since 1970, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, equal in detriment to heroin.
The NBC Universal Building at Universal City, Los Angeles, California now has the name "Comcast" added to its already crowded sign - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)
When I reached adulthood, in the 1960s, “Hollywood” dumped the old MPPC, reintroducing nudity, sex, and light drug use into their movies. In 1967, Hollywood distributed the Swedish movie “Elvira Madigan” to U.S. audiences. Although considered quaint by today’s standards, the nudity and sexuality portrayed in the film were previously unheard of in mass-market movies. The same year, “I am curious (Yellow)” hit U.S. audiences with even more overt sexuality. My curious mother-in-law attended a screening, wearing a disguise that featured a scarf and dark glasses. Later, she reported, “They had sex in a lot of places; even in a tree.” Reviewer Roger Ebert wrote, "Forget it. It's a dog. A real dog".

In 1970, the movie "M*A*S*H” featured on-camera marijuana smoking. Mash did set a gentler tone with drug use than the "stoner movie" genre, which soon followed. Unlike cocaine, which Hollywood continued to treat as the road to ruin, marijuana soon made its way into mainstream consciousness as naughty, but acceptable entertainment. With the Baby Boomers coming of age in the 60s and 70s, Hollywood soon discovered that depiction of soft drug usage helped to sell movie tickets.

In 1969, Sam Peckinpah's movie, "The Wild Bunch" advanced screen violence to blood-spurting new levels. Slow-motion gunshots jerking bodies, fraying clothing and splaying the flesh of both villains and heroes guaranteed the movie’s artistic acceptance. Soon, Hollywood would realize that violence sold more movie tickets than sex and drugs combined.

The 1970 movie M*A*S*H was an unwitting precursor to the "Stoner Movie" genre, as exemplified by Sony Pictures "The Interview" - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) débuted its new movie rating scheme. An "X" rating was reserved for films deemed unsuitable for minors. Overt sex, drug use or gratuitous violence were enough to earn an "X" rating. As the years went by, "X", in the form of sex sold less well at the box office. If the public wanted to see graphic sex, they could view “XXX” movies. With the advent of home video and later internet pornography, “X” for sex and “XXX” moved to third tier producers and distributors.

By 1990, with the old “X=sex” formula fading, the MPAA eliminated that moniker and created a new "NC-17" designation. That new rating meant “No children, seventeen or under admitted.” Since MPAA ratings were voluntary, a distributor of a questionable film could either accept the dreaded "NC-17" rating or distribute the film as “unrated”. Either way the vast majority of theater operators would screen such a film. Art houses and secondary outlets make far less money for the Media Giants. If you need proof, just look at the abysmal $5.7 million in box office receipts for the first three weeks of the “biggest buzz film of 2014”, “The Interview”.

If you group the MPAA’s three children’s movie ratings, “G”, PG” and “PG-13”, there is sizable potential profit for the Media Giants. A “PG-13” rating admonished parents that “some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers”. Even so, millions of tweens flock to the edgier films. To them, “PG-13” is almost as good as an “R” rated movie. In theatrical release, an "R" for “restricted” means “Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian”. Few parents will accompany a pre-teen to an “R” rated movie, but the same parents might ignore the rating if viewing an “R” rated video in their own home. After all, children do not pay attention to TV, do they?

Hollywood of old is remembered as the home of glamorous stars, not explosions and gratuitous violence - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Over time, an “R” rating became the kiss of death for all but the most adult-oriented movies. In order to reach a broader audience, Hollywood modified many “R” rated films to earn a “PG-13” rating. “The Dark Knight,” “Terminator Salvation”, “Inception”, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”, “The Avengers”, “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Taken 2” were all released as PG-13 movies. The meta-theme of all these movies is violence, not sex. For the Media Giants, orange is the new black and violence is the new sex.

When I reached adulthood, the average eighteen-year-old had seen 16,000 humans shot to death on either a movie or a television screen. Soon, Hollywood downplayed simple gunplay, exploiting instead the visceral feel of large-scale explosions. The concept is that as long as you are killing “bad guys”; it is acceptable to graphically eviscerate any such lowlife, “sub humans” as might appear. Now, we the people can stream “The Interview” at home for the whole family to see. Note that it is an "R" rated film (for pervasive language, crude and sexual humor, nudity, some drug use and bloody violence). When its producers explode a puppet-head representing Kim Jong Un onscreen, the whole family is supposed to laugh and cheer. In late December 2014, at least two congressional representative suggested that that the U.S. government should invite Sony to screen that violent stoner movie at the U.S. Capital. Was it a freedom of speech issue or because poor Sony Pictures was losing tens of millions of dollars on its ill-timed release of "The Interview"?

Random violence bullet-damage to the rear-view mirror of the author's pickup truck, obtained on a Los Angeles freeway - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Young Adam Lanza, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murderer, stayed home for years playing "first-person shooter" video games. His gun-toting mother taught him how to shoot at the local gun range. Steeped for years in violent video games, admitted Aurora, Colorado mass murderer James Holmes went to the local multiplex to carry out his heinous acts. Violent video games often became the subject of popular Hollywood movie franchises and vice versa. Psychological studies have long shown that young males are susceptible to internalizing (and later externalizing) what they see repeated on movie or television screens. Whether it is violence toward women or the explosive violence of action movies, weak or disaffected habitues are ever more likely to act out their dystopian fantasies in the real world.

Only when parents wake up and stop allowing a violent aural assault on their children by Hollywood and the Media Giants will our culture return to the spirit of the recent holiday season, which once was, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men". Only when parents and children vote with their dollars for non-violent entertainment will the Media Giants forsake their addiction to violent box office hits and the obscene profits that they produce.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Elton John 1973 "Lost Concert" T-shirt Available Now


MoabJim (Jim McGillis) wearing the restored vintage Elton John 9/7/73 "Lost Concert" t-shirt - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Elton John 1973 "Lost Concert" T-shirt Available at MoabJim.com

In late 2002, I dragged out my slowly deteriorating Elton John September 7, 1973 Hollywood Bowl vintage concert t-shirt and assessed its sad condition.  The silkscreen image on my vintage Elton John t-shirt was crumbling further with each washing.

A spirit told me that I might have the last souvenir t-shirt from that magical Hollywood night, so I decided to restore my vintage 9/7/73 garment.  After snapping a digital picture of the t-shirt, I began the laborious "re-pixilation" of that image. 

Over the course of several months, I spent at least 200 hours restoring my 9/7/73 Elton John T-shirt image to as close to the original merchandise as possible.
The restored image of Elton John from the 9/7/73 Concert - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)
Click Here to read more about Elton John's September 7, 1973 Lost Concert at The Hollywood Bowl.

The Elton John replica concert t-shirt is a MoabJim worldwide exclusive item, not found on TV or in any store.  Be the first on your block to relive Elton's classic live concert of 1973 in bright red style.  To learn more or to make a secure purchase via PayPal, go to MoabJim.com and click on the word "Apparel". Ten dollars of every purchase will go to the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Elton John - The Lost Concert, Found - Thank you Judy for finding Elton, singing Crocodile Rock, live at The Bowl.  For a rare treat, please click on her link, below.
Comment By Judy  on Sunday, April 19, 2009 09:53 AM | Link to this comment.
I was there in the Hollywood Bowl that night too! I found a link to him singing "Crocodile Rock" that night. Here is is: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=6154969
January 5, 2014 - Author's Note - After shipping another Elton John replica t-shirt to a customer, I received the following note from fellow concert attendee, "N.K.". His vivid recollections of that night and the concert itself help us all to remember that special night with Elton John at the Hollywood Bowl.

I received the t-shirt and washed it per your instructions, but haven't worn it yet.

Elton's 9/7/73 Hollywood Bowl concert has become one of my favorite stories, one that I tell over and over again. Just walking in with everyone to find our seats was an experience, as I'm sure you remember that the crowd was really into it as a "happening" and LA did it up right. Everyone was dressed and ready for a party, and Elton sure gave us one. One thing I remember was seeing someone wearing clear plastic platform shoes with live goldfish in them, and everyone was dressed to the nines.

Remember the mermaids? The stagehands carried out a couple of women in full mermaid costumes and set them down in the fountains, which started flowing and lit up with colored lights. All the "celebrity" guests walked up the stairway and then down to the audience, and when they lifted up the lids of the five pastel-colored grand pianos that spelled out "E-L-T-O-N" on the lids, all the doves flew out of the pianos, and circled round and round in the colored spotlights pointing up above the audience.

The smoke from all the joints going in the crowd was like fog in the air, and when Elton walked down the stairs in his furs and plumes, and his glasses lit up to spell "Elton", the crowd went crazy.
As I recall, he did a set with the band, then a solo set at the piano, and then brought the band back for the finale, and each song was one that everyone knew. I think it was part of the Yellow Brick Road release tour, and as Elton himself said, he was at the peak of his creativity.

Thanks for the effort you put in to recreate the T-shirt - I'm looking forward to wearing it for the first time and saying "This shirt? Let me tell you what that concert was like..."

Cheers, N.K.