Monthly Archives: July 2019

Mural: Sea of Flags, 2004, by Gamaliel Ramirez, Chicago, Illinois.

SEA OF FLAGS, 2004, 2500 West Division Street, Chicago (Humboldt Park) by Gamaliel Ramirez (b. 1949) with the assistance of community members.  

The mural entitled Sea of Flags depicts Fiesta Boricua (De Bandera a Bandera), an annual 3-day music and cultural event in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago. Attracting tens of thousands of visitors, the fiesta is held starting in late August or early September. In 2018 the Fiesta Boricua celebrated its 25th anniversary and offered 3 stages booked back to back with scores of musical and cultural performers specializing in the pulsating rhythms of Puerto Rican salsa, reggaeton, bomba, plena, and merengue music, and more.

Some of the famous people depicted in the mural Sea of Flags include Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebrón (1919-2010), Nuyorican (“New York City/Puerto Rico”) poet and playwright Pedro Pietri (1944-2004) and, depicted as a bronze statue on the image’s left side, Don Pedro Albizu Campos (1891-1965), the leading figure in the Puerto Rican independence movement.

An abundance of Puerto Rican flags in the mural is intentional by the artist and his assistants. Since Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American War — and at the same time that Spain ceded the island of Guam and the Philippines — Puerto Rico and the U.S. have had a complicated political relationship that is yet to be completely mutually resolved today.

Gamaliel Ramirez was born in the Bronx in New York in 1949. He spent most of his career in Chicago teaching and as a working artist. After 35 years in Chicago he retired to Santa Rita, San Juan, Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Mr. Ramirez was hospitalized for many months and passed away on May 21, 2018. The artist of this colorful mural has left behind for us a legacy of paintings, other murals, photography and poetry.

Marilyn Monroe in Photographs: The Films (1947-1962).

Marilyn Monroe breaking the ice in this promotional color photograph on the train for Some Like It Hot. She plays Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk, the ukulele player and singer in an all-women’s traveling band. Upon its release in the spring of 1959, the Billy Wilder black-and-white film became an immediate smash hit with audiences and critics alike and remains one of the all-time great comedy film classics.

Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable at the premiere of How To Marry a Millionaire in November 1953. Made by 20th Century Fox, the American romantic comedy starred Lauren Bacall along with Monroe and Grable as three resourceful gold diggers in New York City. It was the first film ever to be filmed in the new CinemaScope wide-screen process, although released shortly after The Robe that was also filmed in CinemaScope. These two films were the top earners for the studio that year and both in the top ten of highest-grossing films of 1953.  The premiere Of How to Marry a Millionaire took place on November 4, 1953 at the historic art-deco Fox Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. The Los Angeles landmark was renamed the Saban Theatre in 2009.

Two shots from Marilyn Monroe’s first photo session with 31-year-old photographer Milton H. Greene in September 1953. Greene had come out to Los Angeles to photograph Marilyn who had been working on River of No Return, a Technicolor American Western, directed by Otto Preminger and co-starring Robert Mitchum. The 20th Century Fox film was the first CinemaScope picture made in Canada though upon its release in late April 1954 critics were divided as to whether it was the rushing waters and jagged peaks of Jasper and Banff National Parks — or Marilyn Monroe — that was more blessed by nature.

Marilyn on crutches in August 1953 following her leg injury during filming on location for River of No Return.

Marilyn returned to California in September 1953 from Alberta, Canada still with a damaged leg to shoot indoor/raft scenes for River of No Return. Marilyn was relying on acting coach Natasha Lytess so much for direction that Otto Preminger had Natasha banned from the set.