Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Celebrating Ceija Stojka

Roma artist, writer on Nazi atrocities, dies at 79

Ceija Stojka survived three Nazi death camps and then found her life's work: Raising awareness of the Nazis' persecution of Roma - also known as Gypsies - in her art and her writings. Stojka carried the horrors of those camps with her until she was in her 50s, speaking out in words and pictures only decades after she was liberated from the Bergen-Belsen camp at age 12. The Budapest-based European Roma Cultural Foundation described Stokja's concentration-camp themed paintings to The Associated Press on Wednesday as reflecting "entrenched sorrow in the bodies and spirit of the victims." [more...]

CEIJA STOJKA 1933 – 2013 : "If the world does not change now, if the world does not open its doors and windows, if it does not build peace - true peace - so that my great-grandchildren have a chance to live in this world, then I cannot explain why I survived Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Ravensbruck." Go here to watch Marika Schmiedt’s film Vermachtnis Legacy about Ceija Stojka

Stojka, who is self-taught, didn’t begin to make art until she was 56. She suddenly felt compelled to paint and draw and used the materials at hand - pieces of cardboard, glass jars, postcards and salt dough. “I work with everything that comes between my fingers,” she writes. The constant torment of the living hell in her mind takes haunting form in her crude style: Stojka uses her fingers and toothpicks instead of brushes to apply the paint and ink. This lends the work an eerie, childlike quality that makes even more horrific her depictions of the day-to-day anguish of living under constant threat of dying from starvation or the gas chambers.  [more...]

Friday, January 25, 2013

Paul Williams: Still Alive

Paul Williams has always been one of my favorite songwriters.  He wrote and starred in The Phantom of the Paradise, a cult film from the '70s that changed my life!  It was surprising to me that a lot of people thought he was dead! 

Quite the contrary!  Paul is very much alive and still performs and writes songs.  There is a documentary playing now on cable called "Still Alive" that tells the story of this talented singer and composer.

"A funny thing happened to Stephen Kessler on his way to completing Paul Williams Still Alive, his affectionate portrait of the diminutive dynamo who loomed improbably large as a pop-culture luminary during the 1970s. After serendipitously tracking down his childhood idol, and starting production on what he clearly intended - initially, at least - as a melancholy ode to a faded star, Kessler wound up forging an unlikely friendship and, in the process, making a richer, deeper and more idiosyncratic documentary." Go here to watch the official trailer.

I actually heard from Paul in November 2005 and he recommended his fans visit his official site.