Wild Young Minds: June 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today's Inspiration


A couple of months ago I did a cosy shoot for the unisex T-shirt brand TEES. Check out their website & lookbook here. I'm really happy with the photos, despite the fact I look pretty manly in some photos ;) Oh well, isn't that what fashion is all about nowadays?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Amsterdam by Ed van der Elsken

To celebrate my vacation - and my fabulous city - my dad and I visited the exhibition 'Amsterdam! Ed van der Elsken' in the archive of the city. A selection of his best Amsterdam based photos, mostly from the fifties and sixties. We also saw a few short films from the good ol' days. All of this brought us back to Amsterdam in the past, which - although it may also be because of the idea - was so fashionable, personal and outstanding.
Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990) was born in Amsterdam, but grew up in a small village called Betondorp. In the fifties he started to photograph in Paris. He followed a few bohemiens here, amongst who Vali Myers, a mystical woman with tattoos on her face .Van der Elsken was a self-taught artist, so he never took any course or did a photograph study but he just put the act in practice. And that worked.
More than twenty photo books can be filled with his photos, which were taken everywhere in the world. On his travels - he went to Japan, China and Africa to name a few places - but also in his native town: Amsterdam, the city filled with atmosphere, always described as a giant village instead of a real metropole. 
It is this city that's in the spotlight in the exhibition. Recently, the photo book 'Amsterdam! Ed van der Elsken' was published and this exhibition is nothing more than the photos in the book put on the walls 1400 times as large.  Van der Elsken was often seen as a social photographer, which is due to the fact that he documented many important social events, such as the 'Bouwvakrellen' in 1966 and the nozems at Nieuwendijk. The nozems can be described as Dutch beatniks. Rebelling against the system is what they did, maybe not in the Kerouac style - I find the look of the nozems still a bit courteous - but definitely in a determined way. 
It is obvious that Van der Elsken loved to photograph the 'normal' middle-class Amsterdammer, and wanted to avoid the upper-class people, who live in an area called Old South.
Though he often captured the average Amsterdam inhabitants, we can find some fashion in the book as well. The photo of the girl with the cotton candy hair has become wildly famous. There's also a great shot of twin sisters, who were very popular with the boys in those days.
'Amsterdam! Van der Elsken' shows an interesting side of the city. Not the shots we all know - the canals, Dam Square, you name it, it's on Google - but the rebels, the outcasts and the typical Amsterdam citizens. If you love history, if you love Amsterdam or if you just love to have your share of culture from time to time, go see this exhibition. Don't forget to go downstairs for the film screening as well, since it definitely adds something spicy to the show.
If you're not Dutch, don't hesitate to go either, every description is also written in English and the photos mostly speak for themselves. The only bad thing is that you don't get to hear Nelly Frijda - Ma Flodder for the Dutchies amongst us - explaining the photos. The perfect woman for the setting: raw and fearless. In other words: Amsterdam at its best.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Senses of satisfaction

The elevator has been going up for twenty years
A life filled with dreams, a trip full of victory
Risks and experiences always vanquished the fears
A life that tells the tale like an adventurous story

No regrets, no sorrows, no tears and no doubt
Not a day was futile, not a year spent in vain
Tiredness followed her but never did she pass out
Coldness kicked in and soon abandoned the pain

The pain of wanting and of wishing were set apart
The pain of hoping and of praying left aside
One can simply refuse to take notice of the heart
And so it goes that she appeared to live an easy ride

Easy it seemed, and effortless it was as well
She felt fine and the feeling has always been real
For when one never tries, one will never fail
How hard you might try, you can never burn steal

So what’s the problem, what’s the big deal
Floating through life is the poor man’s goal
The sad man’s need and his greatest appeal
So why not be satisfied if that is your role

The elevator has not stopped for once in twenty years
No one has ever opened nor closed the doors of grey
A few men have tried but none has earned any tears
Will there once enter a person and will she ever say

‘I want you, I need you, I miss you or I love you’
Will the doors ever open and welcome affection
Will she overcome the fear of feeling black and blue
So that for once she will sense sincere satisfaction  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summertime, time, time.

Finally, the moment I could hardly imagine to arrive, is here. Freedom, vacation, holidays. 2,5 month of travelling (lots of plans!), swimming, reading, dancing and having fun. Work hard, play hard. Oh yes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

California Dreaming

Hopefully I'll be packing next year! It's no winter's day today, but that's not a necessity to me. I'm california dreaming all day, every day. San Francisco, wait for me :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire

Artists & Alcohol. An extremely interesting subject, but I'm afraid you need to have a bit more patience, cause I'm working on a post about this subject that's gonna be huge. I've recently read a book I had to review, called 'The Trip to Echo Spring - On Writers and Drinking' by Olivia Laing. While reading this book, I learned a lot about the lifes of six writers: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, John Berryman, John Cheever and Tennessee Williams. It's the last alcoholic that caught my attention most.
I've only seen one of his plays (adapted to screen of course, not on Broadway!), namely 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'. An intriguing - but quite long - film, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. But Tennessee Williams has written another wildly famous play: 'A Streetcar Named Desire'. Since this play- 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' as well, actually - is full of alcoholists and liquor, Olivia Laing focused a great deal on it in her book.
Tennesse Williams - a heavy drinker himself - wrote 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in 1947 and it opened on Broadway the same year. In 1951, Elia Kazan made a film adaptation of it. The reason why this play fascinated me that much, wasn't my affection for alcohol and love for liquor. It was an even more shallow reason. The main parts were played by Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. I know Vivien Leigh from 'Gone With the Wind', in which she played a fabulous part, the part of Scarlett, a strong and sensual woman. As to Marlon Brando, I'd only seen him in 'The Godfather' trilogy and in 'Julius Caesar'. Both times he was quite old already, so I'd never seen him as the handsome young James Dean kind of star.
Well, it turned out this was the perfect film for it. In my opinion, Brando leads this film. Oddly enough, he didn't win an Oscar for it, while Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden did. Probably too much competition. Brando plays Stanley Kowalski in this film, a brute man, dominant and raw but extremely sensual. A primal man, you might say. 'A Streetcar Named Desire' is one of the first films in which Brando tried method acting, a technique actors use to immerse themselves in their characters. Marilyn Monroe was famous for it as well. And Brando is said to have influenced actors as James Dean, Paul Newman and Elvis Presley.
So, what's this play/film about? It's about Blanche (Vivian Leigh), a widow and a teacher in English, who is an alcoholist and suffers from the fact that her beauty is fading. After she's been caught with a 17-year-old-student she almost breaks down and travels to New Orleans to live with her sister Stella Kowalski. Blanche travels with a tram line called 'Desire'. This element I didn't really understand, it is obviously the link with the title, but except from one time, we don't see a tram at all. It probably refers to the chaos Blanche is dealing with - especially in the crowded New Orleans - and to her desires. For love, for beauty and for Stanley Kowalski. 
Who's Stanley? Stanley is Stella's husband. As I already a said, a handsome brutal man. Stanley has a huge ego, just like Blanche. This causes a lot of trouble, especially when Stella has to go to the hospital to give birth to her baby. When Stanley finds out Blanche is having an affair with his best friend, he goes wild. As you will understand, this doesn't turn out well considering Blanche's mental condition.
'A Streetcar Named Desire' is a fierce film, yet initially it was even more violent. References to homosexuality (Tennessee Williams himself was gay) and explicit sex scenes were deleted before adaption to screen. Personally, I really regret this fact. The sex scenes might have been tough in those times, but by deleting them, the film misses rawness at the end. Yes, Blanche collapses, but the reason why is made much more implicit, which wouldn't have been necessary.
As for the rest, 'A Streetcar Named Desire' is a subtile classic. It's not 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', but to me, it's better. It's less lengthy and the performances of the actors are sublime. Especially Marlon Brando. The man has been honoured a lot in his life, but I don't mind doing it again. What a personality.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Move over, Cara, Freja and Bambi. I've got a new model inspiration: the kick-ass Erin Wasson. Everything she wears is cool; her mix of bohemian and rock influences is perfection to me.
Funny fact: I'm 90% sure I saw her at Noordermarkt in Amsterdam when I just moved here - two years ago -  but it didn't really bother me, since I didn't really know who she was and I always thought she looked so arrogant. Which is exactly what I like now. That Kate Moss-ish 'I don't care' look on her face, her independence and self-assurance. An ode to 32-year-old Erin and her magnificent tattoos.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Credits for my Work

A few weeks ago, I experienced such a wonderful thing. Not huge - as I considered my blogs for Glamour, I mean, Glamour! - but it definitely turned a smile on my face.

Apart from this blog I also write for a site called NadeLunch.
For this site I only write about music; about concerts, festivals, new albums and artists in general. Recently, I wrote an article about Gina Cimmelli, who I discovered in a Free People Campaign with Daisy Lowe. I've had the nummer on repeat the last few months, since it's so sweet, summery and soulful. So, I decided to dive into the life of Gina Cimmelli, and found out that she's Brooklyn-based with Italian roots and ready to take over the States. And Holland as well, I hope!

Anyway, about a week later I was looking on her site again and I saw she had discovered my article and actually wrote a Thank You message on her site. So sweet, the way she thanked me! She also added a translated version of my version - which I wrote in Dutch originally - but the translation was quite poor, they probably used a machine to do it! But that doesn't weaken the message. Here's what she wrote:

''A giant thank you to for the wonderful piece they featured on their site, I appreciate all your kind words!
And to the lovely Bente Schreurs for writing so thoughtfully about my music and myself. I really can’t thank you enough!''

It was my pleasure, Gina!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

She Knew Why the Caged Bird Sang

''The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill 
for the caged bird
sings of freedom''

After her death four days ago, many homages - including this one - must have been paid to the American poet and author Maya Angelou. With good reason, indeed. But Maya Angelou is one of the rare persons who grabbed the opportunity to pay homage to herself while she lived. Something we all should do: trying to understand ourselves, blessing ourselves and honouring ourselves. Cause we all have that opportunity, no matter what we've been through, no matter how we failed or how we succeeded. 
Maya Angelou described herself as a phenomenal woman - ''It's in the reach of my hands, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lip. I'm a woman phenomenally. Phenamonal woman, that's me''.

But before you get the idea Maya Angelou was a haughty woman, let me tell you her life story in way too little sentences than suited for this legend. Cause Maya Angelou had every right to call herself phenomenal. Her life started as a nightmare. Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1928. At the age of four her parents divorced, and she was brought to her grandmother. At the age of eight, she returned to her mother's place, where the situation was repulsive. She was raped and abused by her mother's boyfriend. After telling her brother, her entire family found out and soon the man in question was killed, probably by Angelou's uncles. 
As a consequence, Angelou became mute for the next five years. "I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone ..." During this period, she must have developed her love for literature and poetry, cause she read a lot and had to find other ways to involve in the world without speaking.
At the age of 14 - she spoke again now - she moved to California with her mother. The life she led here was filled with hard jobs; she was a streetcar conducter, a night club dancer and a sex worker. In 1951, she married a Greek and worked mostly as a dancer. A pretty succesful one. A couple of years later she appeared in the opera 'Porgy and Bess' and in 1957 her first album, called 'Miss Calypso', was released.

Two years later, she moved to NY to focus on her writing. She joined the Harlem Writers Guild and came into contact with - among others - Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and James Baldwin. Angelou became a fanatical anti-apartheid and pro-Castro activist. After meeting and falling in love with the South African freedom fighter Make, she moved to Egypt and Ghana, where she wrote for many magazines and papers. 
In 1965, Angelou moved back to the States. Martin Luther King asked her to organize a march, which never found place, since King was shot in 1968, on Angelou's 40th birthday. 'A macabre twist of fate', someone once said. In 1969, Angelou published her famous autobiography 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' published and her star rose and rose. 
The rising of that star included many poems, including 'On the Pulse of the Morning', which she recited at Bill Clinton's inauguration. She worked as a composer, writing songs for among others Roberta Flack. She wrote documentaries, TV shows, articles and more. Her pen was always moving. Despite all the work, she stayed sunny. ''I also wear a hat or a very tightly pulled head tie when I write. I suppose I hope by doing that I will keep my brains from seeping out of my scalp and running in great gray blobs down my neck, into my ears and over my face''.
If I would call her phenomenal, I don't know. I'd have to read her autobiography first. But I would definitely call Maya Angelou inspiring. Take her writing ritual for instance. She would wake up early, check into a hotel room, demand the staff to remove the paintings on the wall and she would just lie on bed, with a pencil, a notebook, a bottle of sherry and some cards to play solitaire as some sort of pause. Gonna try that out soon, seems like a crazy way to write. But it worked, cause many marvelous poems rolled out of that pencil onto the paper in those hotels. 
The death of Maya Angelou is not an intensely sad one, since the poet was old and has left a gigantic unity of works behind her. 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' will remain one of the leading poems in America, I'm sure. Maya Angelou will remain an inspiration. Not only for aspiring writers as myself, but also for Afro-Americans, for women with struggles and for youngsters trying to find theirselves. Always feel free to honour yourselves and don't let anything refrain you from doing so. So I say in the spirit of Maya Angelou ;)