Jon Crispin's Notebook

California

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I’m sitting at the outside bar at the Long Beach Airport drinking a beer and waiting for my flight back home.

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It has been a pretty quick but lovely trip.

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The above photos are from a nice trip to Olvera Street that we took to eat some great Mexican food and walk around a bit.  Frida Kahlo is everywhere!

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Cris and I always try to go to Huntington Beach.  This day was cool, grey, and rainy.  Lovely.

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I really like wandering on and under the pier.

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It wasn’t very crowded due to the weather.

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A Ruby’s chocolate shake always hits the spot.

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I don’t remember Zoltar from previous years.  He will tell your fortune though.

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I am kind of attracted to photographing weird stuff.

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I wonder how many times the Life Ring has been used.

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The nearest In n Out is about a 30 minute walk from Lynne’s house.  So much to see along the way!

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My brother-in-law John knows so much about LA and it is amazing to spend a day with him cruising around.  This is the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Brentwood.  It is referred to as the Sturges House but is most famous for the fact that Jack Larson the actor who played Jimmy Olsen on the Superman TV show, lived here for many years.  It was to be auctioned a few years ago, but didn’t sell.  It is now abandoned and in rough shape.  Shocking.

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It is in a very quaint and beautiful neighborhood.

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Check out this deck from below.  It is nearly the size of the house which is only 1400 square feet.  I am always saddened and amazed that such an important house can sit abandoned and empty.  Especially in Brentwood!

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John grew up in Palos Verdes, which is to me the most amazing community in the LA area.  It was nice to go there for a coffee before driving back to Tustin.  This fountain is in the center of the little commercial area.

Thanks for following!

 

Willard Suitcases / Charles F. Grave / Ithaca

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I have known for a long time now that Charles F. was buried in Ithaca.

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The photo of his grave is the last image that I need for the book Ilan Stavans and I are doing for SUNY Press.

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Ilan’s essay is beyond amazing, and I am really happy with the section of the book that has the two of us talking about our feelings about Charles and to the contents of his suitcase.  / Searching online I was able to find the location of his grave, but I had no map of the cemetery by which to determine the exact location.  This morning I went to the Ithaca Town Hall where a very nice and helpful person gave me the information that I needed.

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There are two sections of the cemetery that are reserved for the burial of Jewish folks.  When I saw these graves I knew I was getting close.

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Charles is buried at the most Southeastern corner of the cemetery.

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The fact that (by New York State law) I have to obscure the surnames of the patients is really pissing me off these days.  Charles died in 1950 and I think it continues to stigmatize patients to deny who they were.  I hear so regularly from family members seeking information about relatives who lived at Willard, and I feel terrible that I can’t help out.  New York State law supercedes Federal HIPAA laws about what can be revealed to families and other interested parties.  This can only be changed through the legislature, and I am really interested in finding a legislator in Albany to introduce a bill to bring New York State in line with Federal law (the Feds put the cap at 50 years after death, and for New York State the cap is forever).   To cover myself here I put these leaves over his name but IT JUST FEELS SO WRONG.

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Here’s a view from another angle.  Much more pleasing that the previous one showing the buildings in the background.

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Peter Carroll came along to shoot some B-Roll as I worked today.  We are slowly moving ahead with the documentary on the project.  It’s still very early stages, but we are hoping to put up a Kickstarter appeal sometime in the late Summer in order to be able to produce a short piece which we can then preview to funders.

Thanks for following along everyone.  I am posting almost daily to the @willardsuitcases Instagram account, so if you haven’t checked it out, please do.

Pirates / PNC Park

Posted in Baseball, baseball stadiums, Jon Crispin, Sport, sports, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 03/04/2019

Pirates v St Louis

Peter and I arrived in Pittsburgh today so he could take a look at the Pitt program into which he was accepted.  The Buccos were in town and lost a really tough one to St. Louis in extra innings.   It was a great evening for an early Spring baseball game and we had a blast.

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Is this a classic fist bump, or what?  As often happens, one of the participants doesn’t look too comfortable.  The guy on the left is kinda unsure that this is a good idea.  The guy on the right is totally going for it.  At least it wasn’t the proverbial “missed high five”.

London / Paris

Posted in Cities, Jon Crispin, Uncategorized, Weirdness by joncrispin on 06/03/2019

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Hi Everyone.  It’s been a while.  I have been mostly posting on Instagram on both the @jonkcrispin site and the @willardsuitcases site, and for some reason things have fallen off a bit here on WordPress.

Cris and I are traveling for a bit.  We had a very quick stay in London before catching the Eurostar to Paris.  A wonderful experience.  It was nice to walk through Bishop’s Park up to Craven Cottage.  We missed the Chelsea match by a day, but it was a nice walk.

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By an amazing coincidence my dear friends Alex and Cathy are also in Paris, and we met up and went to the Sévres Museum.  Walking back to the Metro we passed La Grande Cascade which is a very large fountain (not yet running for the season).  You have to say that the French do monuments really well.

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One might say that they also do weirdness pretty well.  I have no idea what was going on here.  The guy on the street didn’t fall; I saw him lie down and then lower his face shield. I watched for a bit but absolutely nothing happened.  The fellows up top just stood around chatting, and never really paid much attention the guy down below.  I eventually moved on, savoring the mystery.

Willard Suitcases/Charles F/News

 

Willard Suitcases Project

 

Happy New Year everyone.  And as usual, thanks so much for following along.  I wish you all a happy and productive 2019.  For many of us 2018 turned out to be a difficult year, but let’s all be positive and look forward.

I first met Ilan Stavans in the late 90’s when the New York Times hired me to photograph him for this article.  He and I have kept in touch over the years.  I found myself thinking of him while I was photographing Charles F.’s possessions for the Willard Suitcase Project.  There seemed to be a connection and so I was able to help Ilan get access to the New York State Museum storage facility to have a look at what Charles brought with him to Willard.  Ilan was very moved by what he saw and felt, and on the drive home we spoke about a collaboration, although at the time we had no clear idea as to what would develop.

 

Willard Suitcases Project

 

Several months ago we started talking in earnest about what we could each bring to a project about Charles, and it is exciting to be able to say that we have signed a contract with SUNY Press to produce a book.  I’ll have more details soon, but we are both really excited about this.  We are looking at an early 2020 publication date, which will coincide with an exhibit that will travel.

 

Willard Suitcases Project

 

This is just one of many collaborative efforts that has come out of my work with the suitcases, and it is one aspect of the project that makes me especially happy.  It is so nice to have been an inspiration to creative and interesting people and to be a part of their art.

For those of you who are on instagram, I am starting to post suitcase photos @willardsuitcases on what I hope will be a regular basis.  You can also still see my goofy side @jonkcrispin.

Ashley Reservoir

Posted in Jon Crispin, Nature, Travel, Uncategorized, walking, walking in the woods, Water by joncrispin on 29/12/2018

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Peter is taking the GREs today (please wish him luck) in an industrial park in West Springfield, MA and Cris and I have a few hours to fill.  Friends had told us about the Ashley Reservoir which is nearby so we decided on a walk.  This place is amazing.  Less than 5 minutes off the 91 and so peaceful.

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The fact that this place is so close to the Holyoke Mall and a major highway makes it even more surprising.

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What is especially cool is the ability to walk across these causeways and feel like you are in the middle of a lake.  Almost like walking on water!

Next time any of you are driving through Western Mass, take Exit 15 off the 91 and you are there.  Sadly, no doggies though.

Trip to Central New York

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This past Wednesday my pal Craig Williams hired me to take some photographs of the old Lock 52 in Port Byron, NY.  It is now an historic site with a great visitor center (open seasonally).

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The entrance to the site is off the New York State Thruway and is really interesting and well worth a stop if you are driving East.

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These limestone blocks are enormous.

Craig had me photographing some views to match historic photographs of the lock when it was still in use.  We worked for a bit before lunch which was at a really great diner in Port Byron.  I sat facing this flag, which I had seen before but never understood.

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Here is the text from the card above the stars. “This is a police flag.  Each strip on the emblem represents certain respective figures.  The blue center line represents law enforcement, the top black stripes represents the public, the bottom black stripes represents the criminals.”  I hesitate to be negative here, but as someone who is really interested in design as a way of conveying ideas, this seems completely wacky to me. / Great lunch though, fine diner with nice people.

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I am really digging this fish display on the wall above our table.  Award winning!

At lunch Craig mentioned that Brigham Young lived in Port Byron before heading west and that his house was still standing but in rough shape.  Some work was started on a restoration, but due to poor health of the two contractors, it was stopped.

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The plaque on the door reads “This wood frame house built by James Pine circa 1818 and later occupied by Brigham Young and family.  Young’s first child a girl named Elizabeth, born here September 1825.”  Given the Mormon’s interest in history and genealogy, I was shocked to see this property is such a state of neglect and apparent disinterest by the church.

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A restored tavern is on part of the historic canal site.  These bottles sit atop the bar, which is partly original.  It seems rye whiskey was seriously popular in the 19th century. / After Port Byron I drove down to Ithaca to spend the night with my friends Brad and Tania.

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Their house is filled with great things including tons of Fiestaware.

A trip to Ithaca is never complete without a visit to the Lincoln Street Diner.

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Peter had just received the latest OSMO camera and we got the chance to goof around with it.

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Very cool.

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Lookin’ good Sport!

Thanks for following.  Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

Paperwhites

Posted in Jon Crispin, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 12/12/2018

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This year I bought several paperwhite bulbs for Cristine’s birthday in late October and they have just started blossoming.  When you pass by them the smell is amazing. /  On Sunday we went out and got a tree for the first time in years and Cris trimmed it that evening. / Here we have kind of a schmaltzy photo with a Santa in the background.  Who would have thought I would post anything about Christmas, but I must say, it feels quite nice to be getting into the spirit of the season.

Fog Lately

Posted in Jon Crispin, Rivers, Uncategorized, Weather by joncrispin on 04/12/2018

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It has been quite foggy recently.

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I have always liked this view of the Connecticut River from the dike in Hadley.

Things

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 04/11/2018

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Not much to say tonight. / Lots of photographs of these binocular things at tourist sites, but the design of this one at the Quabbin Reservoir Tower is lovely.

ganeshwp I bought this little Ganesh thingy in Kathmandu.  If you unscrew the top Ganesh, it allows  you to open up six little hinged compartments underneath him.

Have a great week everyone.  Please vote.

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