Saturday, January 28, 2017

Two views of the same cold world

How Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper painted America's entry into World War II

By Lars Trodson

Same theme. Same war. Entirely different approach.

Who could be more different in temperament and technique (at least on canvas) than Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell? They were born at the same time (1882 and 1894, respectively), in nearly the same place (New York), and enjoyed spectacular success during their lifetimes.



But you'd never know they painted the same America, and no where is this more evident than two works that treat the same theme in two spectacularly different ways — and both of which were introduced about a month apart.

It’s been written that Edward Hopper started his most famous work, “Nighthawks,” sometime after the attack on Pearl Harbor. His wife, Jo, wrote in her diary that he finished the painting in late January, 1942, and that he had been working on it for about a month and a half.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Block Island at Christmas

We very rarely see Block Island at night, so here are a few images of our lovely island during the holiday season:




Sunday, November 13, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

By Lars Trodson

I wanted to get way from all things political. I was tired of the discussion — the divisiveness, on all sides — and just needed a break. I'm in the news business, and had been reading and watching the political news for about a year. Now it was done, I wish success for everyone elected to public office, but I needed a break. I clicked on the 2001 remake of “Ocean's 11,” and not too long into the flick there was Brad Pitt standing in front of a Trump casino. This wasn't going to do.

The next movie in the Amazon new releases queue was “Basic Instinct 2.” The only thing I knew about this was that it had gotten universally bad reviews when it was released, and I thought, 'What the hell.' Maybe it could fun in that high-gloss, trashy way.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Last of the summer wine

So, yes, I stole the title from a beloved English situation comedy, but for some reason the sentiment seemed appropriate as the summer of 2016 went out in a blaze of glory. It was a summer of wine, and food, a busy summer out here on Block Island — so busy some of us asked ourselves: "What did we do? Where did it go?"

I think of the short but famous speech spoken by Peter Lorre (playing a character improbably named O'Hara) in John Huston and Truman Capote's 1954 film, "Beat the Devil":

"Time, time, what is time? Swiss manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Know what I say? I say time is a crook."

Maybe. Maybe it does go by too fast. But watching a fading sunset at the end of the summer on Block Island is not to waste it, but to recognize and cherish its beauty.

These were taken on my handheld on Wednesday night, sometime before 7 p.m. This first view is looking northwest over Dodge Street:


This is view looking up Ocean Avenue:



New Harbor:



Friday, May 27, 2016

A projection booth from the past

I was recently asked to help out at a film festival in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. The festival was at the historic Odeum Theatre, which I had never visited before. My duties that night took me up to the projection booth, where I was delighted to find two old projectors, long since out of use. The Odeum rarely shows movies any more, and of course if they do, it's from a digital projector. Stepping into that little room was like stepping into the past, a forgotten place, full of details of the way things were.

It's always nice to find places like this — not everything has been made over so that it fits into the glossy present.

Except, well, I had heard that night that the Odeum had gotten a grant, and the old projectors were going to be sent to a museum and the room renovated. With that in mind, I took my phone and snapped as many pictures as I could so that there would be a record of how the room looked.


(More photos after the jump.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

The un-written poignancy in “Blueberries For Sal”



A friend of mine, for reasons that remain charmingly obscure, was at a yard sale and decided to put aside a copy of “Blueberries for Sal” for me. This person could not have known that the author, Robert McCloskey, was something of a touchstone for me, even though this particular book never held all that much appeal. I had ever even read it. I am a “Burt Dow, Deep-water Man” man myself.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Tina Fey and Jackie O.

Why do I have the feeling that this poster:


Was inspired by this iconic image....