Thursday, December 29, 2011


When I first started carving woodcuts, every portrait oddly seemed to resemble Steve Buscemi. With that in mind, I decided to carve the actual Steve Buscemi. A favorite of edgy filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, Buscemi is infamous for his large number of screen deaths. Ironically, he was the only character who survived in "Reservoir Dogs." He often plays sleazy, fast talking criminals and outcasts. One critic called him the cinematic equivalent to junk mail (I completely disagree). He is the lead character in my favorite indie comedy "Living In Oblivion." Before acting, Buscemi worked as a bartender, an ice cream man and a New York City fireman. In 2001, Buscemi and actor Vince Vaughan got into a barroom brawl in North Carolina. Buscemi was stabbed in the face, arm and throat and he still bears a scar on his cheek. He has become a fantastic film director and his directorial episode in the pine forest remains my favorite Sopranos episode of all time. These days he's busy playing Enoch "Nucky" Sullivan in HBO's amazing series Boardwalk Empire. (5" x 7", black ink print)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Reality TV Producer

Javier Winnik is a veteran in the reality tv world. His producer credits include "Last Comic Standing," "Weakest Link" & "Dog Eat Dog." We've been friends since high school and during college we often videotaped private events to help pay our bills. One such event was Nathan Spiegel's barmitzvah at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. For us, the night was an epic disaster. Among the evening's lowlights: we stepped on a $20,000 violin while crossing the stage for a better camera angle; we set a large photo of the barmitzvah boy on fire with a hot camera light; we accidentally unplugged the PA system while Nathan was reciting his thank you speech; and worst of all, we mistook the boy's uncle for his father and spent the evening videotaping Uncle Shlomo in extreme closeup as he danced, socialized and nibbled on chopped liver. The only footage we captured of the "real Mr. Spiegel" was a blurry pan across the dance floor which we had to reference over and over while editing the video in order to get Mr. Spiegel to pay us. Though not quite reality tv, I'm certain the Spiegel barmitzvah remains the most "surreal" video Javier has ever worked on. (5" x 7", black ink print)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Derek Fisher

I was 10 years old when my dad took me to my first Lakers game (1973 Finals: Lakers vs Knicks at the Fabulous Forum.) I've been a huge Lakers fan ever since. As a boy, my favorite player was Gail Goodrich. Today my man is Derek Fisher. Derek is what the NBA calls a "character guy." Well spoken and humble, Derek exemplifies hard work and tenacity. He was drafted in 1997 in the same draft as Kobe Bryant but where Kobe was a prodigy, Derek had to toil for everything he's achieved. Lakers fans know him for his "0.4" miracle shot against San Antonio in 2004 but he's assembled a career of great basketball moments. He saved Game 4 in the 2010 Finals against Orlando with two amazing end of game 3-pointers. In Game 3 of the 2011 Finals, he helped defeat the hated Boston Celtics with an amazing 4th quarter scoring spree. Derek nearly gave up his basketball career in 2007 to devote himself to his 1-year old daughter Tatum who was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer. His daughter survived and Derek and his wife became spokespeople in the battle against retinoblastoma. Derek is so respected by his peers he was voted as president of the NBA Players Association. He helped end the owners lockout against players which saved the 2012 basketball season. (5" x 6", black ink print)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hands Of Time

2013 marks the 90th Anniversary of the silent film masterpiece Safety Last.  The film offers arguably the most iconic image from the silent film era: Harold Lloyd clinging from a building clock over downtown Los Angeles.

Known as the "Third Genius" (behind Chaplin & Keaton), Harold Lloyd played a prototypical "everyman" character.  In Safety Last, Lloyd is a small-town country boy striving for success in the big city.  He finds a job as a department store clerk and comes up with the idea to climb the building edifice as a publicity stunt.  Lloyd was inspired a year earlier by seeing a stuntman climb a towering building in Downtown Los Angeles.

During production, a fake building structure was constructed over another building's rooftop.  The camera was positioned across the street at an angle to make it look as if Lloyd were hundreds of feet in the air.  In truth, he was only seven stories high.

When Lloyd first tested the safety precautions for the stunt, he dropped a dummy onto the mattress below the clock.  The dummy bounced off the mattress and plummeted to the downtown street.  When writer and producer Hal Roach saw this happen, he urged Lloyd to use a stuntman.  Like Chaplin and Keaton, Lloyd insisted on doing most of how own stunts.  What made the Clock Stunt more amazing was the fact that Lloyd only had 8 fingers.  He'd lost a thumb and a forefinger on the short film Haunted Spooks four years earlier when a prop bomb exploded in his hand.  Lloyd subsequently wore a light glove with prosthetic fingers and performed his stunt work with only one complete hand.

Lloyd called his special brand of films "thrill comedies."  Safety Last broke box office records upon it's release in 1923.  Years later, actor Jackie Chan acknowledged a creative debt to Harold Lloyd in his own action comedies which perfected the "thrill comedy" format.

Lloyd married his on-screen co-star Mildred Davis in 1923.  A year later he started his own production company at a location that now houses the Los Angeles Mormon Temple in Westwood.  Like Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd's popularity waned with the advent of talkies.

In 1947, Lloyd tried to recreate his "thrill comedy" magic in the film The Sin Of Harold Diddleback. Directed by Preston Sturges and produced by Howard Hughes, the film includes a scene where Lloyd is stranded on a building ledge with a full-grown lion.  The film received negative reviews and did poorly at the box office.  This would be Harold Lloyd's last film.

After retiring, Lloyd became known for his nude photos of models & strippers. His subjects included Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe. (6" x 7", black ink print)