Dr. Phibes Rises Again

Following his murderous quest for vengeance against the doctors he believes responsible for the death of his beloved wife, Victoria, the fiendish Dr. Phibes enters the crypt where he has enshrined her, ”incredibly maintained neither alive nor completely dead”. And there he places himself in suspended life, like her, until it will be time to rise again. And there he lays in darkness, next to her body, in a splendid satin sarcophagus, until the moon, aligning with the eternal planets, shines upon the sarcophagus – once every 2.000 years – signalling the opening of the crypt. And then, the fiendish Dr. Phibes rises again from his deep sleep and, together with his trusted aid, Vulnavia, prepares to take Victoria to Egypt where, years ago, in a mountain overlooking the Valley of the Pharaohs, he prepared a wondrous shrine, ”unknown by any living man”. There, under a secret temple, the River of Life flows, promising resurrection for Victoria and eternal life for them both.

Three years have passed, and now it is time for their greatest adventure. But, to his utter horror, Dr. Phibes finds his house has been destroyed and his papyrus scrolls stolen, the very scrolls that would lead him back to the secret temple in Egypt.

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Stills from imdb and filmgrab archives

Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)

October 27th, 2018

San Francisco is… taking (the) steps

There are many ways to reach Coit Tower on top of Telegraph Hill. You can take the bus, your car or get on your feet for some excellent aerobic exercise – whatever works best. But the most scenic of all, must be ”The Steps”. There are numerous steps on different sides and levels of the hill, leading to the tower; the views here, are from The Greenwich Steps.

Another perspective of Coit Tower and the neighbourhood surrounding the hill. How amazing would it be to live there, don’t you find? Although, a bit of an ordeal when it’s your turn for that last-minute shopping… Greenwich Steps

July 5th, 2017

San Francisco is… Coit Tower & The Views

So what if the line went round and round, forming a complete circle at the base of the tower. There was so much to see during the hour we waited to reach the lift that, for once, I didn’t feel the pain. For the entire ground floor is adorned with floor to ceiling murals painted in 1934 by a group of artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

They depict life in California during the Depression, with emphasis on the theme of industry and commerce and distinctive touches of leftist political ideas, clearly evident; like on Bernard Zakheim’s “Library” which depicts fellow artist John Langley Howard reaching for a copy of Karl Marx’s ”Das Kapital” (spelled here ”Das Capital”).  Touches one is familiar with in Europe, but rather unusual in the States. Perhaps it is true, after all, San Francisco may well be a very European city.

The Tower & details the Murals Industries of California
Ralph Stackpole


Industries of California
Ralph Stackpole


Newsgathering
Suzanne Scheuer


Library
Bernard B. Zakheim


City Life
Victor Arnautoff


City Life
Victor Arnautoff


Scientist-Inventor
Mallette Harold Dean


City Life
Victor Arnautoff


City Life
Victor Arnautoff


Banking and Law
George Harris


California
Maxine Albro


The (360°) views

You can buy tickets on-line in advance and skip the lines. But where is the fun in that?

Coit Tower

July 5th, 2017

Spotted: The ‘real’ Daily Planet

We were on our way back from a lunch break when my co-worker, who had been in the City much longer than I, pulled me aside:

”Wait, have you seen this?” ”C’mon, you’ll love it!”

In, he dragged me, through a revolving door and before I knew it I was facing a giant revolving globe amidst a stunning art deco interior with just a touch of brass, as if Jules Verne had walked by and left his mark, and I could hardly contain my excitement. For the lobby we had walked into belongs to The Daily News Building, the iconic skyscraper built in 1929–1930 to become the headquarters of the New York Daily News paper, up until the mid 1990s. But it gets better: this, as I discovered by looking at the photographs on the wall, was the very building that served as the offices of the ”Daily Planet”, the newspaper where none other than Clark Kent and Lois Lane, played by Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, worked as reporters in the 1978 Superman and its 1980 sequel.

I am still in awe!

Today the New York Daily News has moved on but the building is still home to its broadcast subsidiary WPIX.

The News Building was designed by architects Raymond Hood and John Mead Howells, in the Art Deco style. Other Art Deco designs by the same architects include: the American Radiator Building, Rockefeller Center (Hood) and McGraw-Hill Building (Hood).

The News Building
42nd St., between 2nd & 3rd Avenues

June 22nd, 2017

Christmas in the City

Enjoying an extended and-of-year break in New York City!

  • Extra days off from work – check.
  • Elbowing way through to Fifth Avenue Christmas windows – check.
  • Putting newfound navigating skills on ultra-packed streets to test – check.
  • Baking Greek Christmas cookies – check.
  • Go see the Rockettes – uh, maybe not this year. This type of variety show still has to grow on me.

A Radio City Stage Door Tour for an insider’s look at the Art Deco details, a walk into the – otherwise off-limits – Roxy Suite, a photo with a Rockette, cheesy as this may sound – check, check!

Starting point, a view over the Grand Foyer. Art Deco elements are omnipresent, floor to ceiling: the carpet we are walking on was designed by Ruth Reeves in 1932 to form a tile collage, each tile an abstract depiction of a musical instrument. Reeves had studied with French painter Fernand Léger in Paris in the early 1920s. Léger’s influence is evident in Reeves’ innovative design – so innovative that it looks every bit as modern today as at the time it was conceived, 85 years ago.Radio City’s interior designers Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey spared no expense nor effort to make the place as grand and stylish as possible. That is evident everywhere and restrooms are no exception. Here we are at the Ladies’ lounge, adjacent to the restroom on the third level, with a ”Panther” Mural of 1932, by Jenry Billings at its centre. Stylistically leaning towards Surrealism, still very much in place in an Art Deco environment. A ”Wild West” Mural, by Edward Buk Ulreich graces the Gentlemen’s lounge.The period leading to Christmas and New Year is the high season for the Rockettes who regularly go through their grueling routine of high kicks and tapping up to seven times a day and still do it with precision, impeccable style and – most difficult of all – a radiant smile (albeit a teary one at the end of the day). Here, we steal glimpses of one of their routines from the balcony.

Marveling at the vast, 6000-seat auditorium, where there are no pillars to obstruct the view, our guide informs us that, actually, it is what goes on under the stage that’s most impressive – the stage elevator system. This feat of engineering allows Radio City’s massive stage to be moved as necessary, in three parts, at the push of a button. Now, if that didn’t impress you just consider that, when assessed during the building’s massive renovation of 1999, the inspectors established that it was in such excellent condition, the elevator system was more or less the only feature that could be left untouched. It was built in 1932!

Interestingly, it attracted the Navy’s interest and the same principle was used in their aircraft carrier systems during World War II. It was thus that the stage elevator system of the Radio City Hall, became a national secret and even had its own government security agent guarding it throughout the War.
That staircase leads to Roxy’s Suite, where impresario Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel, the man who opened the venue and commissioned most of the features we enjoy today in Radio City Music Hall, used to receive his glamorous guests. Today, it is available to hire as a reception space. 

The Spirit of Dance, Aluminium Sculpture, 1932 – by William Zorach. This was one of three statues removed from the Music Hall just before its opening, because they were considered risqué. They were later reinstalled after several months, following strong criticism.The Phantasmagoria of the Theater by Louis Bouche, at the main lounge of Radio City Music Hall.

The crystal Christmas Tree stealing the limelight from the chandeliers and Ezra A. Winter’s epic mural that overlooks the grand foyer. ”The Fountain of Youth”, 1932, is one of the first commissions for the Music Hall and depicts a legend from the Oregon Indians about the beginning of time.

From the Radio City Music Hall, Happy Holidays to one and all!

Tour on November 26th, 2017

The French touch

Recently, the Jewish Museum presented the first U.S. exhibition on the work of French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883–1950). On show were mainly furniture and lighting fixtures, as well as designs for Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, in collaboration with Dutch architect Bernard Bijvoet (1889-1979) and craftsman metalworker Louis Dalbet.

Chareau’s designs were complemented by pieces from his personal art collection, since both he and his wife Dollie were active collectors.

But I only had eyes for these sleek, stylish pieces of furniture and fixtures created in the 1920s, yet so modern they could have come right out of a Manhattan penthouse overlooking Central Park.

Take your pick:

La Religieuse (the nun) floor lamp, ca. 1923. Mahogany and alabaster with metalwork by Louis Dalbet.
Sofa, 1923. Rosewood with fabric upholstery.
Telephone table, ca. 1924. Walnut and patinated iron. La Petite Religieuse (the little nun), table lamp ca. 1924. Walnut, alabaster and patinated iron, metalwork by Louis Dalbet.
La Religieuse (the nun) floor lamp, ca. 1923. Mahogany and alabaster with metalwork by Louis Dalbet.
Coat and hat rack designed for La Maison de Verre ca. 1931. – Metalwork by Louis Dalbet. Stool, ca. 1923. Mahogany and mahogany-veneered wood. – Bookcase with swivelling table, ca. 1930. Walnut and black patinated iron. – Ceiling lamp, ca. 1923. Patinated brass and alabaster.
From ”The grand salon de la Maison de Verre”. Corbeille (basket) sofa, 1923. Wood and velours, with tapestry upholstery by Jean Lurçat. – Telephone fan table, ca. 1924. Wood. – High backed chauffeuse (fireside armchair), ca. 1925.

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design exhibition ran between November 2016 – March 2017. You can read and browse through more photos on The Jewish Museum website.

January 8th, 2017