Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Hunt...

What happens when someone accuses you of something you simply can't disprove, something that will ruin and condemn you the rest of your life- whether guilty or innocent. And it's pretty easy to do...

And it is precisely because it is such an utterly heinous crime, and one that can also be so utterly impossible to prove with 100% certainty either way, that it is so highly emotional, socially divisive and forever life altering. The horror of convicting innocents, or freeing perpetrators hangs heavy on the mind. One always wants to protect the most vulnerable, particularly when it comes to children- but when the "evidence" is circumstantial at best, the problem of how to choose, how to determine guilt or innocence, can devolve into an epic nightmare of Shakespearean proportions.

The way the prosecution handled The Wee Care Nursery School Scandal was almost as grotesque as the charges themselves- videos show investigators (both law officials and child psychologists) posing the most leading of questions to nervous, young children anxious to please, over and over again. It was a modern day witch hunt of the highest order as the accusations grew more and more bizarre, without any real evidence.

On the other extreme, have no doubt that monsters do lurk about, and well organized ones at that. "The Finders," were child abusers of the highest order discovered in a park with disheveled children in tow. It has since become "conspiracy theory" domain of the highest order (since mainstream media quickly ceased reporting on it)- but the fact remains that you had an incensed Washington, DC police force that had their investigation quashed at the behest of... the CIA.

The CIA also sponsored the infamous cold war, mind control program known as MK-Ultra, that was also formerly relegated to the realm of "conspiracy theorists," before it was eventually proven to involve: drugs, torture, sensory deprivation, and ritual and sexual abuse (involving children). It is now a matter of Congressional Record- and official apology... for what it's worth. Throw in False Memory Syndrome, of which you have numerous supporters and detractors, and you have a veritable witches' brew of possible nightmare scenarios, suspects and victims...

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Act Of Killing

There’s many ghosts here, because many people were killed here … They died unnatural deaths. They arrived perfectly healthy. When they got here they were beaten up and died … Dragged around ... And dumped ... At first we beat them to death. But there was too much blood. There was so much blood here ... So when we cleaned it up, it smelled awful. To avoid the blood, I used this system. Can I show you ...?

I first heard of this film on Colin Pantall's blog, but I honestly couldn't make heads or tails of it- it just sounded so freakin' bizarre! And you get a good sense of that, and a good deal more, from this interview with its director. This has got to be one of the most fascinating, revealing, and imaginative (and that's just for starters) documentaries of all freakin' time... yes, that man is smiling- while assuming the position in which hundreds (thousands?) of victims were killed, at the same exact place they were killed.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"My Presence Is Charity"


So speaketh His Lordship JayZ in response to Harry Belafonte's scathing (and entirely appropriate) criticism that someone has to up the ante as far as being socially responsible and committed to the community from which they've ascended the regal throne. Mr. JZ Carter seems miffed that someone who actually risked both career, and life and limb (repeatedly) is actually calling him out to step up and represent- and not by throwing money at fellow (Presidential) royalty in DC. 

I have never been blind to the fact that ignorance and arrogance comes in all colors. And while I'd like to blame this on a lack of education, I'd be either wrong, or lying. This is deeper, more troubling; this is about the blatant self interest that infects us all whatever our color, the greed that blinds us to all, but ourselves.

Many of today's athletes, celebrities and entertainers of color pay homage to Ali; but how many would actually risk their millions, their fame, their livelihoods at the very pinnacle of their careers- to give it all up for something greater than themselves? The very thought would seem absolutely alien, foolhardy at best- they simply can't think beyond the prison of their own needs and desires.

Whether you're a desperate young man named Shawn Corey Carter growing up in the projects of Brooklyn, or the pampered son of a real estate mogul named Fred Trump, there's something missing in their very hearts, something they will never find an answer to in their next million, something we will never find peering into the light of our cell phones

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hypocrisy Unbound

What do you do if you're President (particularly one pledged to "transparency" and human rights) and you just found out that you're responsible for the deaths of 21 children and fourteen women (five of them pregnant) with a simple wave of your hand. Do you at the very least accept responsibility for your action, at least attempt to make amends, and discontinue the policy that led to such a horrific event? Or do you attempt to cover up (by committing further wrongs) as the criminals in charge before you? And carry on as usual...   More here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

McDonald's- Funny Sick!

 It almost approaches funny ha-ha at 48 seconds... If it all wasn't so damn sad...

But there not quite through insulting their workers just, quite, yet...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Been more or less a regular buyer of your fine magazine since the early '90s. But at $17 for your most recent issue, I can't even contemplate buying your magazine when it costs more than what I make an hour. All the fancy inserts and windows in #86 look... fine, but you should really consider whether you wish to publish a magazine the public can afford, or a limited edition art publication for an elite few.

Stan Banos

Sunday, July 21, 2013

NOT Le Tour De France...

I nodded and thanked the man for being so gracious to allow me to photograph him while forsaking all the action going on behind him (the naked bicycle group photo op). Curiously, after not acknowledging my gratitude (or even my presence), I then realized his particular stance at the time was due solely to the fact that someone had been painting a sign on his back- Down With The XL Pipeline!

Photos: S. Banos

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Behold, The Lewd, Pornographic Embrace Of Two Great American Pathologies:

Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible.    -David Simon

It's "interesting" to see and read the hatred coming from White folk as evidenced in the comments derived from above. Indeed, one would think that they were the wronged survivors that had been beaten, abused and enslaved by Blacks for hundreds of years. It has always intrigued me as to the sheer voracity of hatred that some Whites display in there virulent racism, as if their very hatred had a life of its own, as if their bodies were but temporary hosts, and once beyond all rational thought (forever fed by the fear within us all), the animus was then free to roam and infect others anew...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Without A Doubt...

Photo: S. Banos

When I originally took this last month, it made me smile- a nonsensical token of a statement aimed at nothing and no one in particular. Now, in light of the insanity that occurred in a courtroom this past weekend, it seems neither light hearted nor humorous- and all too weighted and relevant...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Roberta Neidigh- Property Line

Roberta Neidigh's Property Line photos, also on display at The Brooklyn Fence, are both playful and astute. They draw our attention to colorful almost Disneyesque landscapes that at the same time disguise and delineate one of the many ways we humans form and establish our own physical boundaries and parameters. Yes, entertaining and educational... and just a whole lotta fun to look at!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Outrage, Disbelief, Utter Frustration...

Just a few of the emotions unleashed from the Trayvon Martin verdict. In a state where the lead prosecutor has a long history of incarcerating juveniles of color and goes out of her way to prosecute a twelve year old as an adult, where "stand your ground" is law, but a Black woman is imprisoned for twenty years for merely firing a warning shot at a husband about to attack- there is no way that gun stalking, cop wannabe George Zimmerman would have walked had he faced the full force of a competent, dedicated prosecution team. No way would you be giving back the same gun to a man who killed an innocent minor whose only crime was to "stand his ground" and attempt to defend himself from a stalker who emerged from his vehicle to physically confront him. 

No way would they have left that courtroom without convicting a murderer, or at the very least, exposing outright the utter hypocrisy and inconsistency of that state's legal system.

A cop's take...

If  Trayvon had been White and Zimmerman Black...  (I know, I know- try and suppress the laughter).

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Loser Wins

First he follows the kid around in a car like a pervert- what every kid is warned about by their mother. The cops tell him to stop- he doesn't. So he follows him again! An action that would creep any kid (or adult) the hell out- a complete stranger slowly and deliberately stalking you in a car. Then this grown man decides to escalate it yet another notch by getting out of his car to physically confront said teenager- who has done absolutely nothing wrong. If I was his age I would have hopefully tried to make the first move too before I let some fat pervert try to abduct me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The American Scheme

Credit card debt rose by 53% during the '90s for the middle class; for the working poor, it rose by 184%. Not because of a sudden increase in consumer greed, but because of the wholesale elimination of living wage jobs replaced with minimum and P/T employment w/o benefits.    Photo: S. Banos

Unless you make a minimum of 50Gs a year, you're little more than a shit stain in this country. And I oughta know, just like so many of my fellow Americans who live on half that. It means you live paycheck to paycheck, counting every damn penny, buying necessities on credit, with no chance of ever quite catching up- no chance of ever breathing a sigh of blessed relief. Actually, in many ways I am truly lucky, I have some modicum of health benefits- more importantly, I have no dependents to feed and worry about. 

This documentary, which follows the lives of two families over twenty years, exposes what has now become largely myth- that the American worth ethic will determine your success. It is no longer sage advice, simple logic or even common sense- it is now the exception to the rule. Your toil will no longer set you free, your dedication and perseverance simply prolongs your survival. The robust economy of yesteryear was never at the mercy of welfare queens driving pink Cadillacs as Reagan would have had us believe, just as it is not the victim of illegal immigrants today. Plentiful, decent paying jobs have been purposely dissipated overseas, along with our dreams, our benefits, and the billions of tax dollars that banks, corporations and CEOs once invested in this country. On any given day you can stand and watch the container ships from China parade under the Golden Gate in the beautiful California sunlight loaded with the economic bounty that was once ours. We are no longer meant to share in this country's great bounty, we are simply the means to increase that bounty for those already enriched.

The American Dream now exists solely as just that, an unattainable goal for the masses, a leftover legacy held high above our heads to first delude us, and ultimately, to shame us when we fall short in a system that is now largely rigged.

 When will we ever wake up?

Watch Two American Families on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Photo: S. Banos

Forget the ever ubiquitous steel and concrete canyons so clearly visible here, I'm surprised the whole of Manhattan doesn't sink simply from the weight of the people that manage to cram onto the island each and every day. What is increasingly unique is what you see here- crowd free streets with room to stretch out and breathe, that ever so rare commodity that ends soon as they reach... the corner.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Russell Frederick

One of the photographers I was most taken with recently in NY was Russell Frederick, who has his work currently on display on the streets of DUMBO as part of the Exploring Brooklyn exhibit that's being shown alongside The Brooklyn Fence. One is immediately struck by the beauty, honesty and directness of Frederick's work. In an age when everyone's looking for the next new gimmick to showcase their portraiture, be it innovative lighting, exotic locale or advanced photoshop skills, Russell sticks to the age old essentials of camera, film and subject. They're all he needs to consistently provide us with stop in your tracks portraiture that make us want to study every detail portrayed in the photograph, and wonder about the subject whose life they reflect.

For the most part his subjects are posed, yet remain very much involved in their everyday lives, aware of the photographer's presence but continued to be engaged in the environment that is so much a part of who they are. And we see them in every situation that life throws our way: the good, the bad, those truly memorable that survive us throughout our years, and those that are momentary, frivolous, lost to us if not for the miracle of the photograph. Frederick gives us reason to pause, focus and reflect at the wonder and challenges of their lives... as well as our own. You can't ask more of any portrait.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Photo: S. Banos

A neatly composed snapshot set against the skyline of a city featuring family, couples and newlyweds alike- if only life could be as meticulously framed and organized as that photographer seems to will his camera.

The crane atop that massive skyscraper will soon no longer be there, just as that building when completed, will replace the space once occupied by two former, more illustrious tenants. How will the lives of those pictured evolve and transcend? And what of their children, and the lives of all those in the ever changing landscape beyond the towers they now accentuate? How will all their shadows fare?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Michel Bayard's Miniature Marvels

Photo: Michel Bayard
Photo: Michel Bayard
Michel Bayard sells his small pinhole prints mounted on 8X10 on New York's newest and most remarkably serene tourist attraction, The High Line. His quirky, miniaturized landscapes of NYC (many made from plastic 35mm film canisters) make for some uniquely quaint photographs full of mystery and delight- and at $20 apiece, are well worth every penny.

I started engaging him in conversation (the same questions he's heard countless times I'm sure), when he cut me short and announced, "I know what your next question is- no, I don't." He was right, of course; I was about to ask him for his card, as he himself let on.

Undeterred, I resumed picking out my fave, and purchased it. He then proceeded to present me with a smile, and a card- "Don't buy nothin', don't get nothin'." 

A true New Yorker.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Like errant children denying their guilt when caught red handed with fireworks, so go our official investigative agencies when it involves those close to their realm. 

The video below concerning TWA Fl# 800 documents a step by step accounting of how government agencies supposedly under public scrutiny can nevertheless coerce witnesses, subvert investigatory procedures, and suppress and alter facts involving investigations where the evidence is readily available, and explainable. And yet, people continue to insist that the government could never keep a secret as large as UFO's under wraps.

Ask Mr. Snowden about what does, and (and more importantly, these days) doesn't happen when the truth gets out. Then ask why so few dare to risk it all. Does it really take any stretch of the imagination as to what investigative and governmental abuses and aberrations can occur concerning true phenomena when not under the microscope of the public eye? Law enforcement that threatens both livelihood (careers, pensions, grants) and well being (convenient "accidents"), together with a media both complacent and complicit (automatic ridicule, condemnation or avoidance): the perfect marriage, the perfect nightmare.

FBI Investigator: "No, you didn't see that."