Johnny Ray Huston

After the gold rush

The Dying Californian begins to live
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johnny@sfbg.com
Lay up nearer, brother, nearer
For my limbs are growing cold
— "The Dying Californian"
A man's last testimony to his brother before perishing at sea, "The Dying Californian" is a mid-19th-century tune that documents the dark side of the Gold Rush. Read more »

If you live to be a hundred you will never be as smart as me!

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“I believe that you are a mother who is pretty desperate.
Not only are you not a very nice person, you’re also a slob.
You’re a hustler.
What happened in April?
And you were incarcerated for 3 years’ time, is that right?
Right!
Of course!
Outrageous!
Why don’t ya pay attention?!”

Nothing makes listening to my voice mail more enjoyable than when N and C prank me using a Judge Judy soundboard.

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Except maybe when I get a similar call from Read more »

The Secretary of State

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Today is as good a day as any to look at Luc Tuymans' much-debated 2005 oil-on-canvas portrait The Secretary of State.

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In a 2005 top ten for Artforum, Studio Museum curator Thelma Golden noted that Condoleeza Rice's mouth is "resolutely shut" in this portrait. Read more »

Francoise Hardy, I Love You

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Have you heard Francoise Hardy's If You Listen? First released in 1972, this collection of songs sounds very 2006 -- proof positive that Devendra Banhart could uncork some wild worship at Ms. Hardy's feet just like he does at Vashti Bunyan's. Last night and this morning, I listened to her takes on compositions by Buffy St. Marie (an exquisite "Until It's Time for You to Go") and Randy Newman ("I Think It's Gonna Rain Today") and imagined her performing a concert in San Francisco. Read more »

Calling Mr. Ozon

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Francois Ozon’s new movie Time to Leave opens in Bay Area theaters this Friday, which means that it’s time to talk to him -- about his attractive lead actor, Melvil Poupaud, his legendary supporting actress, Jeanne Moreau, and potentially stupid but fuckable bit players. Read more »

The planet of the mutants

Os Mutantes are back — in truthful Tropicália technicolor!
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johnny@sfbg.com
It's been nearly 40 years since Sérgio Dias Baptista of Os Mutantes saw Ten Years After at the Fillmore, but he still has, well, vivid memories of his first visit to San Francisco as a naive 17-year-old. He remembers sitting on a bench at a park in Haight-Ashbury and seeing a man on a faraway hilltop slowly walking toward him, until the man finally arrived — to offer Dias what he claims was his first joint. "I think it was also the first time someone showed me a peace sign, and I didn't understand what was that," the ebullient guitarist says. Read more »

A present from the past

Colter Jacobsen uses a pencil to turn old photos into "Your Future"
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johnny@sfbg.com
One of us is wearing green short-sleeved Lacoste, the other blue short-sleeved Sergio Tacchini. We've looked around his apartment, where he's leaving behind one shoebox-size tranquil bedroom — he’s now restlessly moving his belongings between two larger sun-drenched spaces. He jokingly calls one a massage room and the other a museum and talks about the patterns of shadows through his windows — how there's a shadow that looks like a dancing lady, and how the window that faces a church is both peaceful and a passage to a fantasy about priests. Read more »

Polly wanna rob ya!

The Unholy Three invades Silent Film Fest
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johnny@sfbg.com
Hear ye! Hear ye! Step right up to the Castro Theatre. Behold a bizarre trio of crooks. One an expert ventriloquist in old lady drag. Another a Goliath whose fickle heart is bigger than his brain. The third a pint-size schemer, who thinks nothing of pretending to be a baby in a stroller in order to case a high-class joint for jewels. Witness these three sell counterfeit parrots — you heard right, counterfeit parrots! — to unsuspecting mugs in order to visit their homes and rob them blind. Read more »

But I love it!

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Valley of the Dolls
(Fox Home Entertainment)
PRESS PLAY My favorite anecdote about Susan Hayward hides in a Nicholas Ray biography. When director Ray first met Hayward before the filming of 1952's The Lusty Men, he launched into one of his characteristic orations about methods of acting. Hayward knitted. Ray jabbered. After a while she cut him short. "Listen, honey, I'm from Brooklyn," she said with a trademark from-the-gut growl that could stop a linebacker short. Read more »

HELLO LARRY

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"My basic photography lesson is this: You frame the perfect composition, exactly like you want it, and then you step forward," says Larry Clark. "What that does is screw things up a little bit, so they'll become more real, more like the way you see."
We're at a restaurant South of Market, and the man behind the monographs Tulsa and Teenage Lust and the films Kids, Bully, and the new Wassup Rockers is talking when he should be eating. I'm glad, because he has a lot to say. Read more »