Saturday, July 20, 2019

2019 02 Noir: the Sordid Chronicles of Shady Characters with Michael deMeng in New Orleans Day One, Two Three


February 10-16, 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The start of this Michael deMeng / Katherine Engen ArtVenture in New Orleans is more relaxed than any other trip. Because of the nature of the project, Noir – The Sordid Chronicles of Shady Characters, I did a lot of pre-preparation for this project. For the first time, I packed up all my supplies and shipped them to NOLA prior to leaving home.

That means on the trip day it was simply packing and leaving—no stress. Denice and I went out for breakfast and then she took me to the airport at 10:30 a.m.

My flight to Atlanta left Milwaukee at 12:39 p.m. (Central) and went flawless. After a short layover in Atlanta, my 5:36 p.m. (Eastern) flight to NOLA was as easy. I always use the Airport Coach for these trips and by 7:00 p.m. I was at the Hotel St. Marie on Toulouse (one block from Bourbon Street).

After checking in, getting my shipped art into the workroom and a quick unpacking, I met Marilyn and John Werst, Tara, Lois and Karen in the Vacherie Bar attached to the hotel for a quick snack of crab cakes.

Marilyn was nice enough to buy all of us tickets to see the band at Preservation Hall at 9:00 p.m. Tonight we heard six musicians led by pianist Rickie Monie. This is not hyperbole: the best set of jazz I have heard at Preservation Hall. Their version of Creole Love Song was moving.

By 10:30 I was back at the hotel and in bed—tomorrow class begins.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Today is a one day class taught by Andrea Matus deMeng called Grifters and Gumshoes Workshop.

Here is the course description: "The Dark Corner, The Kiss of Death, Night Has a Thousand Eyes…these Film Noir movie titles set the tone for our highly stylized Hollywood posters. The debauchery, the cynicism and the sizzle! In this one-day workshop we’ll examine the key features of Hollywood Film Noir posters. The classical Hollywood era of the 40’s and 50’s has its artistic roots in German Expressionism and makes the perfect subject for our wildly imaginative investigations in paint and collage. We’ll be transforming an ordinary piece of illustration board through a combination of collage, image transfers, paint, and iconic hand lettering bringing all of these elements together and creating epic Hollywood inspired mixed media artworks. By the time we’re done you’ll be saying 'Alright Ms. Matus, I’m ready for my close up'."

Here is my idea for a movie poster collage: collage on the suitcase that I am going to use for Michael's class that starts tomorrow. Here is the audition of the collage items for that project. 

Here is the audition for my film noir poster. 

My finished poster

Lunch was at Déjà vu, a cool “local” eatery across from the facility we had to use last year for our workshop because of construction at the St. Marie. 

Here are the posters made by my fellow class mates:

We had a chance to review the work of the other artists

I had some down time so I started another poster

Every year it is up to Katherine Engen to re-invent NOLA for those of us who come almost every year. Tonight was the Meet and Great so we all met in the lobby of the St. Marie for a short walk to Rampart Street to Mister Gregory’s establishment for Mister Gregory’s Shrimp Boil & Cabaret Show.

Over the years some of us have got to know artist, gallery owner and drag queen supreme Vinsantos DeFonte who is Mr. Gregory’s husband. Well, now we can brag about knowing Mr. Gregory and he runs a great kitchen using local delights plus put on a fun show for us. The meal consisted of beans, buns, rice and more shrimp than anyone could possibly eat.

The show featured the talents of Titty Babe (song and piano), Angie Z who did burlesque and my favorite, torch singer Dee Dee Onassis who rocked the house with Judy Garland tunes.

When I saw this on the agenda I considered it a "no camera" event and I am OK without taking any photographs. After the event it was early to bed as another class starts first thing in the morning.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Today it is time for NOIR – The Sordid Chronicles of Shady Characters Workshop taught by Michael deMeng. Here is the course description: "In this class, using paint, sculpture and assemblage, students will create a cast of characters suitable for a classic Noir scene.  Students will also create a little stage where the drama can unfold.  Now for the best part – the scenes and characters will be produced in glorious black and white (more or less) in order to accentuate the shadowy realm of the underworld and its citizens.   All of this will happen as we sink into the sultry glow of neon and the Big Easy."

Here is the class sample created by Michael:

Doing the deMeng Assemblage Dance

Here is the suitcase that is going to be the stage for my characters to act out their drama. 

My Sordid Chronicles of Shady Characters is going to be based on the book and the film of The Maltese Falcon. The book was published in 1930 and is one of the finest private eye novels ever written. I highly recommend it.

The novel was filmed twice (The Maltese Falcon (1931) starring Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade and Bebe Daniels as Brigid O'Shaughnessy) (Satan Met a Lady (1936), an adaptation starring Bette Davis as the Brigid character and Warren William as Ted Shane, private eye).

The best and definitive version of The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 film noir with screenplay by and directed by John Huston. Sam Spade is played by Humphrey Bogart with Mary Astor as Bridgid O'Shaughnessy. The rest of the cast is superb with Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo and Sydney Greenstreet as Casper Gutman.




The parts of Sam Spade

The Maltese Falcon

Lunch today was at Erin Rose with the gang.

The evening event was at a restaurant called Bacchanal Wine. The event was like a buffet barbecue. It was a nice time for me to have a long talk with Andrea, Lisa and Vickie--time to take advantage of as one-on-one conversations at an event like this are hard to come by. We were home by 9 and that was our night.

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