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links for 2011-01-05

  • As an accomplished street photographer, the late Vivian Maier discreetly chronicled life in Chicago’s Loop and surrounding districts for decades. After immigrating to the United States as a refugee from World War II France, she eventually ended up in Chicago as a nanny to wealthy North Shore clients, but her passions ran much deeper. Over 100,000 negatives and more than 3,000 prints of her massive body of work were discovered in an estate auction shortly before her death in 2009.
  • Leave it to an investigative journalist to dig up the dirt. Nora O'Donnell's recent essay on Vivian Maier delves deeper into her backstory than anything else I've seen. Thanks, Chicago Magazine.

    While the basic outline of her life life is now fairly well established, Maier still remains something of a mystery. For me the most intriguing questions center on her photographic skill. How did she gain such a sharp eye? What training did she have? Which photographers or photographs did she come in contact with? Who if anyone helped her develop? Or was she a pure autodidact?

  • The Artist Formerly Known as Captain Beefheart is a BBC documentary from 1997, on the late, great Don Van Vliet. Its presented by the also late and lamented DJ, John Peel, who was once tour driver for Captain Beefheart, and contains contributions from Frank Zappa, John French, Ry Cooder, and Matt Groening.
  • Factory Records founder Anthony H Wilson died in August 2007. Just over three years later, a memorial headstone designed collaboratively by Wilson's long-term associates Peter Saville and Ben Kelly with Paul Barnes and Matt Robertson, was unveiled in The Southern Cemetery in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester.
    The black granite headstone carries a quote, chosen by Wilson's family, from The Manchester Man, the 1876 novel by Mrs G Linnaeus Banks (aka Isabella Varley Banks), the story of one Jabez Clegg and his life in Victorian Manchester. The quote is set in Rotis.

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