Peter Beard, beauty and beasts

The helicopter, the hundred policemen and the drones patrolling in their search had returned empty-handed: last seen on March 31, Peter Beard had been missing for two weeks, after having left his house in Montauk, east of Long Island, in the State of New York (United States). But on Sunday, the body of the American photographer was found lifeless in a wood. He was 82 years old and had senile dementia. His photographs of African fauna – elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, cheetahs, snakes, giraffes -, his portraits of African girls – happy breasts in the air -, his fashion shots – mannequin posing next to a tied rhino – had helped build his reputation as a hunter of images, wild beasts and sculptural women. Often reworked in Indian ink and adorned with handwritten quotes, his prints conveyed a hackneyed, grandiloquent and neo-romantic myth of Africa. Largely heir to colonialism and white predation on Africa in the eyes of its detractors.

Shaper of his own legend

One of his famous photographs, a naked woman feeding a giraffe at night (Maureen Gallagher and a Late Night Feeder, 1987) is subtitled “Beyound Gauguin”. The media Peter Beard, photographer of the Pirelli calendar, published by Taschen in a collector’s edition, used to the picture rails of the Paris Photo fair, dreamed of being an heir to painting. Above all, he was a skilled craftsman of his own legend and kept a diary of his life. This fable was not to displease Andy Warhol, his neighbor, who described it thus: “One of the most fascinating men in the world … he’s like a modern Tarzan. He jumps in and out of the snake pit he keeps at home. It cuts and paints with blood. He wears sandals and no socks in the middle of winter “ (cited by the American SuburbX site). Lover of artificial paradises and nightclubs, mundane with his hand in his hand, Peter Beard, Tarzan of the steppes with an ultra bright smile, had for him to be a handsome and attractive kid. The anecdotes – sometimes not very bright – of its existence are so numerous that it is difficult to disentangle what is reality or fiction.

As a child, for example, at the age of 10, he killed small alligators in a swamp in South Carolina to cut into their skin and make collages. Born in 1938 in Manhattan, Peter Beard came from a wealthy industrial family with a great grandfather in the railroads, a tobacco tycoon and a broker father. As a kid, he took photos with a Voigtländer bellows camera donated by his grandmother and kept diaries that would make his mark. If his family did not welcome his photographic practice, considered a pure pastime, he ended up imposing his passion.

Hunting for images and the wild beast

It was in 1955, at 17, that Peter Beard made his first trip to Africa, accompanied by Quentin Keynes, great-grandson of Charles Darwin, reports the New York Times. On this trip, he even escapes a hippopotamus attack when he frequents big game hunters and goes hunting for images and the wild beast with them. The myth wants him to read during the boat crossing on the Queen Mary the book Out of Africa by Karen Blixen. The Danish baroness will therefore be a source of inspiration for the photographer who will later settle in Kenya not far from the ex-African farm and his coffee plantation. From the Danish author he met in Copenhagen in 1961, he said in a portrait dedicated to him Release : “The best, a pure genius sharpened by Africa.” “She hardly saw anyone anymore. She had suffered. She rightly said that her literary life was made in blood. “ During their meeting, Peter Beard draws the portrait for him and, later, he sticks the face of the Danish writer next to that of Ramses II and of an African tribal chief in a curious triptych after the shooting . AT Release, he also said: “It has always been said that a territory like Africa is impossible to destroy. But the destruction is happening, and at a speed you can’t imagine! ”

The End of the Game, book first published in 1965, is his best known work. In this book, he sounds the hunting hallali for white men. In fairly banal, frontal animal photos imbued with the melancholy of black and white, he describes the peril of the continent which sees its wild species wasting away. Its series of dried animal carcasses are also very impressive. If Peter Beard liked to carve out a reputation as an adventurer and defender of Africa, he was also a headhunter: it was he who discovered Iman, daughter of diplomats, future star model and wife of David Bowie, in a Kenyan university. As an experienced fashion photographer, he made her a catwalk goddess, while organizing shooting sessions with other models on the continent. A regular at Studio 54, Peter Beard is mostly a friend of the stars, a gold version of the seventies and eighties. The photographer has frequented Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Jackie Kennedy, Aristote Onassis, Grace Jones and Francis Bacon, who painted several portraits of him. He also immortalized Catherine Deneuve and Carole Bouquet. With Truman Capote, in 1972, the photographer followed the Rolling Stones tour by traveling in their plane and saw the writer gradually abandoning his story.

Read alsoThe portrait of Peter Beard by Released in 1996

If his biography is studded with famous and flashy names, the “socialite” Peter Beard also braved some misfortunes. When he was young, he survived a motorcycle accident at 130 kilometers an hour. In 1987, his American home – he also lived in Kenya – went up in smoke, reducing all of his ashes to ashes. “Diaries” (diaries). In 1996, he was seriously injured by an elephant on the Tanzanian border. With its tusks, the animal grinds its thigh, crushes its ribs and smashes its pelvis. The photographer is said to have declared “For the fuck, it’s over” before being transported to Nairobi hospital. From this confrontation with the angry pachyderm, he will have lifelong consequences.

Clementine Mercier


Anthony Fauci: Cakes with the face of the American Fernando Simón | Global World Blog

In other circumstances, the last face a pastry chef would put on one of his creations would be that of an expert investigator of infectious diseases. But the world-widening Covid-19 pandemic has given wings to a pastry chef from Rochester, New York, to create the donuts with the image Anthony Fauci, the scientific spokesman at the White House during the pandemic crisis. Fauci is a kind of official “chief explainer” of the US government’s measures to combat the epidemic, a role similar to that played in Spain by epidemiologist Fernando Simón until his positive for coronavirus.

“It is that we see the news like everyone else,” said the owner of the cafe, a franchise of the Donuts Delite chain, Nick Semeraro. “[Fauci] It appears on television reporting what is happening and that is to be respected. We are apolitical, and remain neutral, but we must recognize who deserves it. ” Fauci warned a few days ago that the epidemic could take 200,000 deaths in his country.

The coffee has put donuts up for sale with the face of the 79-year-old veteran scientist, who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, during Ronald Reagan’s tenure. They appear in a white coat, in a photographic image printed on edible paper, surrounded by a border of pastry cream with confetti in the colors of the US flag: red, white and blue.

The buns are for sale for $ 2.10 (1.89 euros) and $ 20 (18.05 euros) for half a dozen, both figures without taxes, and can be bought in the café itself or sent home in a modality called “Send without touching”, to prevent contagion. “People are buying them like crazy,” says the franchisee.

Fauci’s worth sparks consensus and he is seen as a world leader in the fight against AIDS. The newspaper The New York Times calls it “America’s leading expert on infectious diseases”. De Fauci the newspaper highlights its ease of scientific dissemination without being condescending and, lately, “for correctly managing the president’s claims without saying he is wrong.”

And it is that the scientist always responds with sincerity, but avoids giving the feeling that he is amending the plan to Trump, who has stated that the Covid-19 vaccine would be “in one or two months”, a period that the expert extends to “a year or a year and a half”. Fauci undaunted attends the appearances of the US president, but last week he could not suppress his smile when listening to Trump during a press conference, in a gesture that went viral on social networks.


Coronavirus: in New Rochelle, “we try not to panic too much” – Release

Coronavirus: in New Rochelle, “we try not to panic too much” Liberation.

Sochie Nnaemeka wants to face corporate Democrats

When Sochie Nnaemeka met me at the Commons Café in central Brooklyn, she apologized. He was only five minutes late, but our midday meeting was clearly one of many he had lined up for the day. “I almost went to this completely different place, Brooklyn Commons. He’s nowhere near here, “he said, smoothing his blue suit. He would have messed up his busy schedule. The bartender, intrigued by our request for” a quiet place “- someone had started playing the piano out loud, in the back room – he led us to a sunny conference room on the top floor. “You can talk about your important things here,” he said.

In December, Nnaemeka became the director of the Working Families Party (WFP) in New York, making her the new face of a group with a crucial role in the progressive movement of the state, supporting political reforms and left-wing candidates. Now, she’s in charge of maintaining this momentum, but she doesn’t seem worried. He spent his career taking advantage of this opportunity.

It started in Yale, where Nnaemeka was radicalized. She arrived as a star-eyed freshman in 2007, but was immediately disillusioned. “It was not the space to engage with real questions on how to make the country a more expansive, inclusive and safe place for immigrants and black people,” said Nnaemeka, who is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants due to the production of cold beer coffee on an unusually hot winter afternoon.

He said he had questions: “What does it mean that the university is the largest employer in a divided and deeply separated city?” How could Yale defend “the values ​​of the Enlightenment and of the possibility, when the university practically kept at bay an almost entirely black workforce?”

So he started getting organized with the workers in the dining room. They were mostly black women and active members of their union. Nnaemeka attended their meetings and joined when they knocked on doors in low-income neighborhoods. “I thought, okay, I may not have a great sense of where my home is, but I feel more comfortable when I’m with people engaged in a fight based on solidarity,” he said, excitedly his voice. This is “when the organizational bug” bit her, she added.

Nnaemeka, now 31, has been organizing for a decade. She came to WFP from the Center for Popular Democracy, where she worked with grassroots groups across the country, including Black Leaders Organizing for Communities in Milwaukee and Detroit Action in Michigan. In that role, she cultivated new political leaders and empowered young black women. Nnaemeka took the reins of WFP in New York in a delicate moment for the small but powerful group. In New York, WFP helped fuel a progressive wave, working to reverse the state senate to democratic scrutiny and support cash bail reform, tighter lease rules, and driver’s licenses for undocumented migrants. documents. He was an important force in promoting Tiffany Caban’s offer to the Queens District Attorney. He lost with only 55 votes, but his candidacy drove the conversation on criminal justice reform to the left. “There is renewed interest and excitement left in electoral politics,” Nnaemeka told me. “People are really looking for a political house and a real left-wing party, and I remain convinced that WFP is the vehicle for that strategy and that movement.”

Yet WFP, in New York and nationally, has sometimes struggled to find its place, often straddling the progressive movement and establishment politics. After approving Elizabeth Warren in September, the party faced online harassment, often punctuated by racist and sexist threats. Jacobin declared that the group had “written out of history”, defining Bernie Sanders as “the national manifestation” of WFP politics. “The fact that WFP does not recognize him,” wrote the founder of the magazine, Bhaskar Sunkara, “reflects how far he has gone.” When I read those quotations to Nnaemeka – surely he had already heard them many times – he laughed, but did not address them directly. “We have a theory of change that we need to organize to conquer the world we want,” he said, in a firm and firm tone. “This does not mean rejecting people in moments of tactical rift, it means having a real open and clear conversation and fighting for people’s votes.”

At different times, WFP’s confirmations alienated those to its left and right. The group gave Governor Andrew Cuomo his party line in 2014, sowing internal division and angering progressive groups and candidates. In 2018, he supported Cynthia Nixon against Cuomo, infuriating union members closely aligned with the governor and his relationship with work remained weak. In that year’s state Democratic primary, WFP supported Joe Crowley, a longtime centrist who supported the invasion of Iraq, rather than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Although Nnaemeka was not present during these endorsements, it will have to manage their persistent effects. “We have to make difficult choices,” he said. “When it came to Cuomo, there was a political calculation and, at that time, it was a strategically valid decision.” It is clear that Nnaemeka often faces questions about WFP’s past and does not want to get bogged down. For her, the hostile response to this year’s approval – and the division between the camps of Warren and Sanders in the broad sense – undermines the long-term goals of the progressive movement. “We have two candidates for structural change vying for the country’s tallest office, talking about the elimination of student debt and access to healthcare, and we’re really fucking excited about this.”

In this context, Nnaemeka wants to trudge forward and to the left. WFP may have supported Cuomo in the past, but in 2020 it is positioning the party in opposition to its policies and style, although it will further alienate the powerful unions that were once fundamental to its survival. This means strengthening ties with the democratic socialists of America and jumping aboard loyal progressives whose politics may have avoided a previous WFP iteration. “We may not align on everything, but we must find places of profound alignment,” he said, and “getting rid of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is one of those places.” The WFP mentality “is finding out where we are trying to go and who is on our way. So the corporate wing of the Democratic Party was making it more difficult for normal people to live a good life in New York.”

His first fight is Cuomo’s budget. “We are falling into this right-wing framework of political austerity. We don’t have what we need and are balancing our budget to support the most vulnerable,” he said, referring to the cuts proposed by the governor for $ 2.5 billion a New York Medicaid. “There is more than enough for what we need, but we don’t have a leader with progressive will and creativity to make it possible.” He listed potential sources of revenue that could fill the $ 6.1 billion state budget hole: taxes on luxury properties and cars or on “second yachts”, he explained, adding, sardonically, “the amount of wealth in our state is, you know, big enough. ” Nnaemeka called the state budget a “moral document”; Cuomo’s “fiscal sustainability”, as the governor calls his economic paradigm, has created a “moral crisis” in the state. “People are suffering from hunger, schools are underfunded and overcrowded and what we are focusing on is whether mega-millionaires feel comfortable in their daily lives.”

WFP’s embrace of a democratic socialist vision increases its ideological clarity and could consolidate its role as the “political house” that Nnaemeka said many leftists are seeking. But it also puts the party on precarious ground. Last summer, WFP filed a lawsuit against Cuomo, accused of having created a commission specifically to change electoral laws in order to crack down on third parties. In November, the commission voted that, in order to guarantee a line on the state vote, parties must draw 2 percent of the vote or 130,000 votes, compared to 50,000, a relatively low threshold that has allowed parties like WFP to remain on the ballot, giving New Yorkers the opportunity to “vote for their values”.

The new threshold may threaten the existence of WFP, but Nnaemeka doesn’t seem worried. “We approach this as organizers and turn lemons into lemonade. For us, the highest threshold is an organizational goal, an opportunity to speak with thousands of new voters.”

Nnaemeka sees Cuomo’s antics as a sign that WFP is right. “The backlash is real, and that’s what happens when people are afraid of a new balance of power,” he said. “For the first time, the left has a real chance to govern, not only to protest, but to govern, and so people are finding out how to cut it in the knee.” I asked how his disillusioned 18-year-old self would feel about the current climate. She smiled. “Progressive movements are no longer marginal,” he replied. “This is the moment I wanted.”


Meet the new candidates supported by DSA who are racing to restore power to people in New York State

At a time when politicians from our government and establishment are working only for multinational corporations and wealthy and democratic democratic socialist candidates across the country, they are taking on the corruptive influence of obscene wealth in politics and restoring power to the people.

In Seattle, Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant hired the richest man on the planet and won, beating Amazon’s multimillion-dollar campaign and paving the way for legislation to get Amazon to pay for skyrocketing housing costs . In Chicago, six Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) candidates have obtained seats on a social justice platform and now represent over 10 percent of the City Council. In the halls of Congress, DSA member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not only making a seismic change with legislation like the Green New Deal, but is using her position to help raise other candidates outside the plant, including a new dedicated PAC to bringing several working class voices to Congress.

And right here in New York, the DSA manages a diverse set of candidates for the state office that will bring the energy and ideas we need to continue winning big and bold changes in Albany theaters.

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to them: Marcela Mitaynes, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Boris Santos and Zohran Mamdani for the state assembly, and Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar for the state senate.

In 2018, I ran as governor as a proud democratic socialist because the values ​​of DSA and mine are the same. I believe in healthcare, housing and education for all and in a better distribution of wealth in this country. I believe we must raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, fully finance our public schools and that societies and the rich have too much influence on our democratic process.

I ran for the governor because I couldn’t stand by while the corporate democrats worked to cancel our education system, our subways and our social housing. I didn’t run for myself: I ran for a movement. That’s why I was proud to be one of the first supporters of Julia Salazar, an energetic young democratic socialist running for the state senate. Julia and I campaigned side by side for universal rent control, to fully fund our social housing and to fix our transportation system.

In Albany last year, Senator Julia Salazar led the prosecution for our new rental laws and to decriminalize sex work. It has helped introduce desperately needed criminal justice reforms and passed the most ambitious state-level legislation on climate protection in our country.

We are facing a crisis of inequality and greed in our country and state, which is why we need more people like Julia Salazar in charge. After decades of tax cuts to align the pockets of the wealthy, New York State is facing a politically produced budget deficit. To resolve this, we need elected officials who have the political courage to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to finance the life-saving public goods and services that our communities rely on.