Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Rest in peace Bereton Tanager Gia, Aug. 1, 2014 - May 20, 2024, my beloved Scottish Deerhound who did not survive an episode of cardiac and other systems failures. She was loved by all who ever encountered her, and she loved them back profusely. Gia is shown above smiling, because as a photographer, I want you to see what I saw, a totally sweet dog, a pillar of goodness.

If one ascribes to the philosophy, Mr. Twister, Gia and Annabelle are basking in one another's love all together again, along with their Deerhound pals Eroica, Callahan and Norris from our dog playdates. (All Deerhounds depicted here though are Gia.) (Later blogs will tackle the recent deaths of my soulmate/husband of the last 50 years Mr. Twister, and of my brother Randall; my horse Indiana Jones has already been eulogized. Dedicated readers may have noticed the slowdown in the Fastfilm blog. There has been an inordinately gigantic amount of loss, grief and heartbreak within the last several years; there's only so much emotion my heart can untangle at a time...)

Gia always knew how loved she was but... much of her life proved less fun than those of my previous dogs. There were 3 years of lockdowns (California's unique exceptionally long ones unlike every other state, and further restrictions because we humans were ~ gasp ~ over 65 years of age!) meant no outside the home activities like dog shows or coursing (running) events to interact with new canines. These were the same 3 years of her pack co-leader Mr. Twister being frequently disabled with his severe illness, then his leaving the pack forever. So much sorrow for Gia. At least the two younger pups Livia and Bella, seen below with Twister and Gia, always respected her hierarchy position as "first dog." (I reinforced this as well.)

It's appropriate here to mention that thanks to my friends Sherry, Ian and Paul (and occasionally Katrina) Gia enjoyed doggie playdates with other Deerhounds and Borzois every Sunday that we could manage it, and that Livia, Bella and I look forward to a continuation of this, (avoiding the new nighttime incursion of a baby boom of dog-aggressive skunks.)

 Below, Gia watching the film "Oppenheimer." This photo of her appeared in the "The Claymore," the house organ of the Scottish Deerhound Club of America.

Addenda: 1) Over 500 friends on Facebook expressed their condolences of Gia's passing. 2) Gia died on the day before what would have been Twister's 76th birthday.


Wednesday, May 15, 2024


For once, an hour of happy came to me. A carnival fairground sprang up 2 blocks from my house, with genuine diversity in its themes like a German/Austrian Beer Haus, little green folks from outer space, New Orleans Mardi Gras, Chinese dragons, etc. It also was gratifying to see denizens of my neighborhood having fun instead of their usual resentful desperation.

I was impressed with the high caliber of the graphic art of the attractions. Behind the beer maiden are the Katzenjammer Kids, a very popular 1920s comic strip, Arnold Schwarzenegger and some cool draft horses hauling the beer. The analogy of the elephant in Leiderhosen escapes me (perhaps reference to German milita
ria, as in the elephant in the room?)   



Carnival fairs are important entertainment to smaller, rural communities, while they remain an urban rarity. Usually the art is over the top kitsch, which is why this vivid, well-maintained batch surprised me. I no longer can ride the rides because of vertigo, but I liked everything else about these: they succeed in their manufactured fun. There was even a full-sized Ferris Wheel, like in Luna Luna.


Luna Luna, the world's first fine art amusement park once graced a Hamburg, Germany park in 1987 and was supposed to tour, then was lost in litigation of its investors, then genuinely lost until it turned up 35 years later in 44 shipping containers in Texas of all places.  

MAJOR, MAJOR fine artists of the day designed these fairground attractions, half of which have been restored to viewability, and two of which have been restored to proactive participation. You can step inside the Salvador Dali hall of mirrors in a geodesic dome, and you can get genuinely lost in the Roy Lichtenstein hot pink maze. Otherwise one can admire the Jean-Michel Basquiat (full-sized) Ferris Wheel, the Keith Haring merry go round, and the David Hockney spinning ride where the floors drop away as the colors change the artwork walls, plus plenty more.

It was set up for a paying public in April and May 2024 in the "fashion district" of downtown L.A., right next to Skid Row. It needed an airplane hangar-sized space within which to put a full amusement park, hence was found in this commercial warehouse area with no retail, no restaurants, no nothin' per se around it. It should be mentioned that hip hop artist Drake spearheaded the foundation that restored and ultimately displays Luna Luna once again to art and fairground fans.

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