Friday, May 23, 2008


The Photographer's Eyes : John Ranard

Not everyone has them , these special eyes that see , thus not everyone can be a photographer despite what all the digitally empowered "Flickr" photo- enthusuiasts might want to believe . John was special , he really was a photographer .The real thing , a natural .His eyes were the eyes of a real photographer .

We knew John for several years and appreciated his very considerable talent . We spent many an evening at Ray's Candy Store discussing the world and all that is in it including photography.Wednesday ,May 14 , 2008 John died after a long difficult battle with cancer . John was 56 years old .

As with all who try to make their way in the world making and selling pictures John's life wasn't easy. He had one book published in collaboration with Joyce Carol Oates , " On Boxing " that is still in print . He had some other social documentry portfolios concerning prisons in Russia and also aids in Russia that he had shown . There is considerably more work that we can not possibly list that unfortunately has rarely been seen by anyone other than Johns friend's or fellow photograpers .

We do not have all the facts of his life so we will refer you to the recent "Villager " obituary written by John's brother Andrew and Lincoln Anderson .

We do though note here that on reading the" Villager" 's glowing account of his time working for the Villager providing him creative space to experiment , that John was not at all that happy with the Villager and the way that it had treated him . Though one big 2 page photo spread of his East Village squater days work was presented acceptably , in most cases his pictures were butchered , as were the pictures of most who contributed to the Villager , and also on many occaisions John had great difficuly getting paid ... indeed according to John he was not always paid . What we are saying is that there is some revisionist recounting of John's history at the "Villager " on the part of the "Villager" . These issues were a recurring theme in our many discussions at Ray's . We could commiserate having both dealt with the "Villager" over long periods of time .

Along with many others in the neighborhood we will certainly miss John .

As to the two pictures here , actually one ; we just couldn't decide which was most appropriate . We know John did prefer Black and White to color most of the time . It is one of the few pictures that we have of John. It was taken by street lights at 2:oo am , the morning of 24 June 2004 on avenue A at 7th street . We were hanging-out on the street with Biker Bill this early morning .


....And the Sawyers Came ...

History begins with contention . These two flags are both claimed to have been the flag at the top of the tower .

Graywolf's plot was spared damage . He stands with his flag

At the appointed time the sawyers arrived and set about their task . Eddie's Tower of Toys -- a monument to the exuberant defiance of rules , order , decorum and the law of gravity -- was to be dismantled , brought to earth and hauled away .
Buzzing saw in hand the sawyers sliced and pared away at the tower removing the good wood and the bad . Some toys were saved , some weren't . The task took 3 days .
In the process some of the garden plots near the tower were damaged but Parks Dept . personnel declared that the damaged plots would be repaired .
There were of course different opinions about taking the tower down or even whether it needed to be taken down but since the Parks Dept. claimed that nothing taller than 10 feet tall could be insured most of the debate was moot .
The lucky toys were placed in repose on the stage , their first time out of the rain and other elements in a very along time . The unlucky toys were hauled away with the rest of the rubble and sawed and broken timber.
A friend a few months ago told us a story about Eddie . He told us that he had talked to Eddie , at length , one afternoon a year or so ago just outside Tompkins Square Park . He told us that he mentioned his conversation with Eddie to someone that knew Eddie . Our friend told this person that he had talked to Eddie but that Eddie did not seem well and that he was quite pale . This other person declared that it is not at all surprising that Eddie appeared pale considering that he had been dead for a week .
With this tale in mind and considering Eddie's considerable talent and capacity for the unusual we have been taking walks past the pile of wood that remains in the garden these last two nights . We have been hoping to perhaps glimpse and photograph a spectral barefoot materalization wearing a string of beads climbing about this wood pile .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Saint Brigid's R.C. Church Has Been Saved ....

Ed Torres , above , announces to the public Wednesday afternoon that St. Brigids church has been saved from the wrecking ball . The church will be returned to its original condition thanks to an anonymous donor and will be used as a parish church .
The Archdiocese of New York will receive a $20,000,000 donation , $10,000,000 of which will be used to restore St. Brigids to its original condition so that the church can continue into the future as a parish church . An amount of $8,000,000 will be allocated to supporting the school and $2,000,000 will be be used to establish an endowment for the church .
City Council speaker Christine Quinn , Burough President Scott Stringer , Council person Rosie Mendez and the many members of the Committee to Save Saint Brigids were also present at the press conference at the corner of East 8th St. and Avenue B this afternoon .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The Big Tent in Tompkins Square Park Monday Night ...

With their cars parked on the avenue A sidewalk , the well-to-do crowd wined and dined for $250 a head under the big tent in TSP at the Bette Midler spring picnic .
On the other side of avenue A , Marlene and Emil with a couple of bucks in hand , a half-pint of vodka in pocket , and a red devil mask had some fun too.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Saturday on Avenue A

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