Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jesse Bernstein, New York Times article and photo

New York Times Article

Remember when time seemed immense - being 21 or 22 the future seemed like it stretched on forever; there was an end just a long long time from RIGHT NOW. It is interesting when something from WAY BACK there comes back.

When Jesse Bernstein stayed at our place in Olympia it was a mixed blessing. Granted, the guy was cool, interesting, always edgy (from what I could tell) and at the same time would pick up a guitar and play and sing; he told me they were old railroad songs.

We weren't good friends but in some ways, everyone in Seattle was Jesse Bernstein's friend. If you wanted, you were always welcome to swing by the hotel he stayed at on 1st ave south?? (forgetting name here) and if he was there, good chance he'd hang.

Anyways, I've had mixed feelings about using the images of him and promised I'd never sell them. Well, I sold some to the guy behind this documentary - anyone that has been pursuing something as passionately as that seemed like he'd treat all things as equal and so far, so good.

Here is a link to the images (click on image), some of which are being used.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vietnam People

I spent many hours driving around Saigon asking people to take their picture. I know enough Vietnamese that I get by enough, ask their permission, etc. Almost no one liked me trying to write down their names, so I stopped doing it and just kept asking for pictures. In lieu of everything that has happened there in the last 2 generations - not to mention before that - the Vietnamese remain positive, easy to talk with and generally excited about the future in Vietnam.

People Flash
People HTML

Sunday, December 5, 2010

End of Eden

The Eden building in Saigon. To many of us, it was that building on Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue / Le Loi. It has always been there. The top floor wrap around apartments were like out of a movie set - rustic, with shuttered windows and a huge terrace. Being inside the building when it was occupied seemed like you were now IN that movie set; families with their doors open eating dinners and watching TV. Artists lofts. Old war heroes and expats.

The corner of Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue was also the newspaper sellers. Before the big book stores and in the 1990's, the guys here had almost anything you needed - New York Times, The Economist, National Geo, Playboy, Time, Newsweek. Funny, but the media outlet for District 1 was in front of the building that used to house many journalists during the Vietnam War era.

Eden Building Saigon on Rusty Compass

The whole time I was in Saigon I kept visiting the Eden building, as it is known. Almost daily I drove past, watching the banners protesting the move change. One day near the end the banner changed from Red and Gold, the national colors, to Black and White - reminiscent of fruneral messages and death. 'Death from Viacom' was in fact one of the statements being made. Then the decision came down while I was there that in fact, they HAD to leave and take what money Viacom was willing to pay and AFTER anything fell through the cracks (2500 sq meter I hear).

Then the building was empty.

Eden HTML Version
Eden Flash Version

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The flower market in District 5 where Quynh Anh and I went. She often comes here and buys for her flower business. From what she told me, the trucks come in from the provinces (Vung Tao, Sa Dec, Vinh Long, etc) with the flowers about 11 pm - the market starts about 4:30 after the flowers have been off loaded and sorted. Early in the morning like this was nice - the tempo on the street goes from mellow to a deluge in 1 hr - and by the time we left, Saigon had start up again.


Flower Market