Monday, November 28, 2011

Talk therapy

Sigmund Freud's sofa

Cozy or claustrophobic?

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I just love this image of Jimmy Stewart.  He's sitting with his Oscar (the Academy Award for his performance in The Philadelphia Story) and a clutter of coffee cups and water glasses. He isn't draped by gorgeous women or glad-handing other tuxedoed glitterati; he looks so relaxed, just taking it all in.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Pages from the diary of Peter Beard

Friday, November 25, 2011


Debutante Brenda Frazier, 1938

Brenda Frazier photographed by Diane Arbus, 1966

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank you Supes

We should always be thankful for Superman making an appearance at Macy's Thanksgiving parade.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Annie Leibovitz photographs sacred places and things in Pilgrimage.

Emily Dickinson's dress

Annie Oakley's heart target

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The lovely chorus girls from the Ziegfeld Follies (1907-1931). 
The theatrical extravaganzas were based on the Folies Bergére of Paris.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Criminal mindset

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb after their arrest.

Describing the motive for the murder of 14-year old Bobby Franks: It was just an experiment. It is easy for us to justify as an entomologist in impaling a beetle on a pin.

(Leopold quote, Chicago Tribune, 1924)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Dear Madame

I'm glad I purchased this poster from the Skirball Cultural Center exhibition of Maira Kalman. It's either sold out or no longer available.
I love her handwriting and the absurdity of the quote.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A place in the sun

No need for introductions.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fine motor skills

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Man Ray

Alfred Steiglitz


André Kertész

Robert Mapplethorpe

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Busy hands

Oliver Jeffers multitasks.

Children's books

Fine art

Jewelry design

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Gustav Klimt died at the young age of 55 during the influenza epidemic of 1918. He left a large number of unfinished paintings which illustrate his process, and wonderfully loose drawing style.

Portrait of a Lady


The Bride

Portrait of Maria Munk

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chasing rabbits

"One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter."

"One side of what? The other side of what?" thought Alice to herself.

"Of the the mushroom," said the caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment was out of sight.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Who Stole the Tarts? by Salvador Dali 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been analyzed and interpreted for hidden meanings and symbols for decades.  One common theme is the subliminal reference to drugs, specifically hallucinogens that alter perception.

In 1969, surrealist Salvador Dali illustrated his version of the classic children's book. His wild images seem to reiterate what the Cheshire Cat told Alice:

"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

Monday, November 14, 2011


It's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

—Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe, by Roy Schatt, 1955

According to writer/photographic preservationist David Wills, there are more books about Marilyn Monroe than any other woman in history. Undeterred, Wills has curated a collection of photographs and poignant quotations from Norma Jean and her circle in a new hardcover coffee table book; Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lisa and Lisa

Lisa Fonssagrives photographed by Horst P. Horst

Vogue, UK 1940

Vogue, USA 1940

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Long before it evolved into a news magazine with an emphasis on dynamic photojournalism, Life featured general interest articles adorned with lush illustrations.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The grip of randomness

The story I heard over dinner:  S. notices that the young man in front of her has dropped his wallet. She stops to pick it up, but now the traffic swells, the man has crossed the street and she must wait for cars to pass. With his wallet in hand, she hurries to catch up. The man is walking so quickly, she begins to run. Finally, she follows him into a doorway and calls out. He is surprised and grateful.   The end.   It could easily have been a great beginning to a much bigger story. I was disappointed the story didn't continue, didn't grow more detailed and colorful and complex. I'm fascinated by the role of randomness in our lives.

I've just started reading the magical work of Haruki Murakami. His ability to graft randomness (often surreal) into his work is addictive.

Below, four excerpts from separate short stories in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami.

He had a really nicely shaped ear. It was on the small side, but the earlobe was all puffy, like a freshly baked madeleine.

A friend of mine has a habit of going to the zoo whenever there's a typhoon.

Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing.

The two of us simply held each other in the darkness, sharing that enormous ice, inside of which the world's past, millions of years' worth, was preserved.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It takes a lot of tomatoes to make a little sauce. Homemade is a bit more tangy
compared to store-bought, and well worth the effort!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Poetry of rain

Robert Doisneau


Josef Sudek

Alfred Stieglitz

Monday, November 7, 2011

At long last

Doc Films is currently showing a Woody Allen film series at the University of Chicago. I'm always surprised when I hear anyone dismiss Woody Allen as anything but great.

He often pays homage to the greatest writers, directors and performers.

"You have to have a little faith in people. " (end of Manhattan)

"Yes, I can see now." (end of City Lights)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Safe house

The winning entry for the 2011 Zombie Safe House Competition. Like most people, you may not be prepared for the apocalypse but there are others that are thinking ahead.

Friday, November 4, 2011


The man who moves a mountain, begins by carrying away small stones.


When a sculptor works with stone, he studies the different elements of the rock, its veins and graininess, before taking a first blow with his chisel.  Gutzon Borglum thought bigger.  On horseback, he scouted the area of Harney Peak in South Dakota, looking for a mountain big enough to support the figures of the sculpture he envisioned.

When he saw the granite peaks of Mount Rushmore, the tallest mountain in the region, with the sun hitting it just so, it was love. His mindset was that his portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (each six stories tall), like American history itself, would be magnificent and endure.

Construction began in 1927, and was completed in 1941, the year of Borglum's death. 400 workers cleared 800 million pounds of rock over the course of 14 years, fulfilling a preposterous idea by
one impassioned dreamer.

Before and after

The original design was more fully rendered. 
Lack of funding determined the completion date.

Ninety percent of the monument was created using dynamite. 
No one died during construction.