Riccardo Freda @100
Riccardo Freda (born in Alexandria,Egypt, February 24, 1909 – died in Paris, France, December 20, 1999) was an Egyptian-born Italian film director. Ironically best known for his horror and thriller movies, Freda had no great love for the horror films he was assigned, but rather favored the epic sword and sandal pictures. Freda’s Sins of Rome (1953) was one of the first Italian peplums, predating Steve Reeves‘s Hercules by four years, and his classic Giants of Thessaly (1961) was theatrically released one year before Ray Harryhausen‘s famous Jason and the Argonauts. He directed Kirk Morris and Gordon Scott in two classic Maciste films in the sixties, in addition to several spy films, spaghetti westerns, historical dramas and World War 2 actioners.
He never finished either of the two horror films he was assigned in the fifties (I Vampiri and Caltiki – The Immortal Monster), but rather allowed his cinematographer Mario Bava to complete them. Bava’s great effects work on Caltiki in particular launched him on a directing career of his own in 1960. Thus many fans regard Freda as Mario Bava’s mentor in the film industry.
Freda’s greatest horror films were his two 1960s titles, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock and The Ghost, both of which starred Barbara Steele, but he really enjoyed doing the adventure films a lot more. He directed Anton Diffring and the legendary Klaus Kinski in giallos later in the decade, and then slowed down in the early seventies, inexplicably emerging from his retirement at 72 to direct one last slasher film (“Murder Obsession“). He died in 1999 of natural causes (at age 90).
See also: Italian horror film
Back in the day, when I was still editing Jahsonic.com, I had amassed a list of erotic photographers I thought were important. The list consisted of Alva Bernadine, Gilles Berquet, Guy Bourdin, Steve Diet Goedde, Nan Goldin, David Hamilton, Irina Ionesco, Richard Kern, Doris Kloster, Eric Kroll, David LaChapelle, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe, Steven Meisel, Carlo Mollino, Helmut Newton, Man Ray , Bettina Rheims, Paolo Roversi, Thomas Ruff, Jan Saudek, Jeanloup Sieff, Romain Slocombe, Roy Stuart, Jock Sturges, Ellen Von Unwerth, Trevor Watson and Theodore Zichy.
Alva Bernadine (born June 17, 1961) is a British photographer born in Grenada, West Indies, and brought to London at the age of six. He is self-trained and has photographed for Vogue, GQ, Elle and others. Winner of the Vogue/Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award, he was also twice nominated English “Erotic Photographer of the Year.” His book Bernadinism: How to Dominate Men and Subjugate Women was published by Stemmle in 2001 with text by Nerve cofounder Genevieve Field. His work is self-admittedly inspired by Guy Bourdin, shows influences of the Distortions series  by Hungarian photographer André Kertész. Bernadine describes himself as an anti-portrait photographer, since he rarely shows faces, which gives his work that distinct forniphilia/sexual objectification* look. A recurring theme in his work is the mirroring of a female from the waist up/down.
The Philosopher Illumined by Candlelight – Alva Bernadine (image used with permission of author)
I’ve chosen his work The Philosopher Illumined by Candlelight as the current icon of erotic art. The photo depicts a man in a suit sitting in a darkened bedroom reading by candlelight. The lighted candle is protruding from a woman’s vagina. The picture has elicited comments of sexual objectification and misogyny. Objecters find more “proof” of Bernadine’s “misogyny” over here.
On the accusations of misogyny he says:
“I don’t really think about that [accusations of misogyny],” he declares. “Normally, I get an idea for a picture and if I can’t think of a good reason not, I take it. I can’t censor my own stuff.”
“That doesn’t bother me much, … you bring your own experiences to a picture. Sometimes I am surprised at the way they’re interpreted, but every opinion is as valid as mine because I haven’t usually formed an opinion before I’ve taken the shot. It’s only later that I work out the ramification. My work isn’t about subtlety. I need a reaction. It’s better to be a bad influence than no influence at all.”
On his inspiration for Illumined Bernadine commented:
“I once listened to a late night BBC Radio 4 programme called Sex in the Head where people described their sexual fantasies and on it a woman described how she enjoyed her partner reading his newspaper by the light of a candle placed in her vagina.
The image stayed in my head and 2 or 3 years later I was able to find a couple who agreed to model for the picture.”
You can find more by Bernadine at:
*In the forniphilia/sexual objectification/erotic furniture category belong artworks such as Chair, Table and Hat Stand (1969) by Allen Jones and Les Krims‘s Heavy Feminist with Wedding Cake  (1970).
Introducing Yuka Yamaguchi
I found this image by Japanese artist Yuka Yamaguchi yesterday. Artwork which features innards of bodies are a personal favourite, I first realized this after discovering Ferdinand Springer‘s Ecorché I some years ago.
I can’t tell off hand who else belongs in this category from an artistic point of view, but from a utilitarian point of view there is the anatomical art by the lickes of Vesalius, Jacques Gautier d’Agoty and John Bell. Perhaps my first exposure to the subversion of inside and outside was David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome in which a videotape and a pistol are inserted in the belly of James Woods.
Videodrome (belly insertion scene at 2:54)
She is a woman with excellent and adventurous tastes. From her Flickr profile:
Favorite Music & Artists: Aeroplane, Superpitcher, Junior Boys, Jacques lu Cont, DFA, France Gall, Daniel Wang, Kelley Polar, Loo & Placido, Alpha, Satie, Kahimi Karie, Tom Waits, Stereolab, Yuzo, Fujiyama Ichiro
Most of the comments on Yamaguchi’s work focus on the fact that she transcends the “weird for weird’s sake” aesthetic found in many of her contemporaries (think many of the lowbrow Americans presented by Wurzeltod). Her work is an uncanny mix of cruelty and innocence, benign in spite of its undercurrent of disturbance.
Her closest percursor is probably Roland Topor.
Espantapajaros – Oliverio Girondo
Ilia Mikhailovich Zdanevich (April 21, 1894– December 25, 1975, Georgian ილია ზდანევიჩი) was a Georgian writer and artist associated with the Dada movement. He was born in Tbilisi, to a Polish father and a Georgian mother. His father was a French teacher, and his mother, V. Gamkrelidze, was a pianist and student of P. Tchaikovsky. In 1919 he adopted the pseudonym Iliazd. Zdanevich’s 1923 poster for his and Tristan Tzara‘s Soirée du coeur à barbe [Evening of the bearded heart] is a widely-known example of avant-garde typography and graphic design. Ilia Zdanevich died in Paris.
Egon Schiele Excess & Punishment
From the film “Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung” (1981) starring Mathieu Carrière, Jane Birkin and Christine Kaufmann with an original score by Brian Eno. A cult item if there ever was one. Dedicated to Rafaela for her appreciation of sensualism and Esotika for his appreciation of European cinema.
For those of you with prurient interests (wink, wink), scrub to 3:00 and various subsequent points in time you will have to find for yourself.
Eno’s score is mesmerizing and blissful.
From my wiki:
Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung, also known as Excess and Punishment(English) and Egon Schiele, enfer et passion (French) is a 1980 film based on the life of the Austrian artist Egon Schiele. It stars Mathieu Carriere as Schiele with Jane Birkin as his artist muse Wally and Christine Kaufmann as his wife Edith and Christina Van Eyck as her sister. The film is essentially a depiction of obsession and its constituents of sex, alcohol and uncontrolled emotions. Set in Austria during the Great War Schiele is depicted as the agent of social change leading to destruction of those he loves and ultimately of himself.
The film is an international co-production with actors of German, French, Dutch and English origin. It was directed by Herbert Vesely and produced by Dieter Geissler and Robert Hess. The cinematography is by Rudolf Blahacek and the haunting music is by Brian Eno. The English language version of the film is entitled Egon Schiele Excess & Punishment.
Male viewers pressed for time may want to scrub to 2.37
Tina Aumont (14 February 1946 – 28 October 2006) was an American actress of French, and Dominican descent.
She was born in Hollywood, California, the daughter of actors Jean-Pierre Aumont and Maria Montez who he had met in Hollywood. Maria Montez was known as the Queen of Technicolor, an early camp icon and idol to American experimental filmmaker Jack Smith, whose Flaming Creatures (1963) is basically a travesty on Hollywood B movies and tribute to actress Maria Montez.
Back to Tina
Tina married actor and film director Christian Marquand in 1963, at the age of 17.
She made her debut as Tina Marquand in Joseph Losey‘s 1966 movie Modesty Blaise. She worked in Italian cinema with, among others, Alberto Sordi (Scusi, lei è favorevole o contrario?, 1966), Tinto Brass (L’urlo, 1968 and Salon Kitty, 1975), Mauro Bolognini (Fatti di gente perbene, 1974), Francesco Rosi (Cadaveri eccellenti, 1975), and Federico Fellini (Fellini’s Casanova, 1976).
In 2000 she retired from film work and died in France at age 60.
PS: Tina Aumont was brought to my attention via a Dutch blog. Moon in the Gutter was there before me. Here is a Tina Aumont photo taken by Frédéric Pardo from the site http://paris70.free.fr/ dedicated to French counterculture of the fashionable variety (as contrasted to the political variety). I discover Philippe Bone.
From the back (do you see the other man?)
From the front (see the other man and mind the mirror)
Since my musical activities have moved to Facebook, the only way I can put the popular in the title of the blog to credit is by introducing gratuitous nudity.
Other women of Brass who may be of interest to you:
Dedicated to b.
I’ve introduced two fictional characters on this blog. One has been rather active, Sholem Stein, another, Waloli has only done three posts. The butler may be third character (although the only character I now feel comfortable with – in terms of what kind of message he can bring – is Sholem Stein.
As for the encylopedic stuff:
Mutoscopes were a popular feature of amusement arcades and pleasure piers from the 1890s until the mid-20th century. The typical arcade installation included multiple machines offering a mixture of fare. Both in the early days and during the revival, that mixture usually included “girlie” reels which ran the gamut from risqué to outright soft-core pornography. It was, however, common for these reels to have suggestive titles that implied more than the reel actually delivered. The title of one such reel, What the Butler Saw, became a byword, and Mutoscopes are commonly known in England as “What-the-Butler-Saw machines.” (What the butler saw, presumably through a keyhole, was a woman partially disrobing.)
English playwright Joe Orton appropriated the title What the Butler Saw to make a theatrical farce of the same name, first staged in London on 5 March 1969. Cinema-goers recognised situations used by Orton’s contemporaries, the Carry On comedians of the late 1960s. For example, Carry On Doctor was showing whilst the play was being written in 1967.
An early 1970s reference is the title of the film What the Swedish Butler Saw, also known as Champagnegalopp, a Swedish film from 1975 directed by Vernon P. Becker. The story is based on the Victorian anonymous novel The Way of a Man with a Maid. This sex comedy, in English known as What the Swedish Butler Saw or Confessions of a Swedish Butler, the film starred Ole Søltoft and Diana Dors.
A lovely surprise. I am spinning at a party, so it seems. Dear me.