Saturday, December 31, 2011


William Nicholson

Maurice Sendak

Gennady Spirin

David Jorgensen

Will the real Velveteen Rabbit please step forward?

Friday, December 30, 2011


Philip Johnson, PPG Place

I.M. Pei, Pyramide du Louvre

Philippe Starck, Nani Nani Building

Cesar Pelli, Carnegie Hall Tower

Serious men with a great sense of humor.

Photos: Josef Astor for Vanity Fair 1996

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2, Marcel Duchamp, 1912

Duchamp Descending a Staircase,  Eliot Elisofon, 1952

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stay glad

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Rulin's, 1942

Work more and better
Work by a schedule
Wash teeth if any
Take a bath
Eat good - fruit - vegetables - milk
Drink very scant if any
Write a song a day
Wear clean clothes - look good
Shine shoes
Change socks
Change bedclothes often
Read lots good books
Listen to radio a lot
Learn people better
Keep rancho clean
Don't get lonesome
Stay glad
Keep hoping machine running
Dream good
Bank all extra money
Save dough
Have company but don't waste time
Send Mary and kids money
Play and sing good
Dance better
Help win war - beat Fascism
Love Mama
Love Papa
Love Pete
Love everybody
Make up your mind
Wake up and fight

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hot air

Tony Sarg loved to draw. As a young man, he illustrated advertisements and drew jokes for magazines, but that would change once he was introduced to puppetry. Sarg designed marionettes, opened his own theater and even toured. He is credited with designing the (amazing) flying helium balloon characters that singlehandedly made the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade an epic event.

Balloons Over Broadway, the children's book about Tony Sarg and his fantastic balloon inventions, is a mild introduction to Sarg and his work. The watercolor illustrations don't do justice to his spectacular creations.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Excellent pics

National Geographic Magazine sets the bar in photography that captures the world's people and places with amazing detail and dazzling color. Their annual photography contest winners reflect the shared passion for culture, history and the places of the earth we call home.

The 2011 winners have been selected. My favorite image; people going about their day in a monsoon, received an honorable mention.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

10 List: Jeff Bridges

One of my favorite actors, Jeff Bridges, has great presence and subtlety. Several of his best performances were directed by first-time filmmakers, which says a lot. The following films are for me, his finest work:

With Cybill Shepherd in The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show, Peter Bogdanovich (1971)

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Michael Cimino (1974)

Starman, John Carpenter (1984)

The Fabulous Baker Boys, Steve Kloves (1989)

The Fisher King, Terry Gilliam (1991)

Fearless, Peter Weir (1993)

The Big Lebowski, Joel and Ethan Coen (1998)

The Door in the Floor, Tod Williams (2004)

Crazy Heart, Scott Cooper (2009)

True Grit, Joel and Ethan Coen (2010)



Friday, December 23, 2011

Night girl

Constance Towers as Kelly, the new girl in town

A beautiful bald woman beats a drunk man with her shoe to the strains of jazz horns. Every whack of her merciless stiletto in the deliriously brutal opening seconds of Samuel Fuller's film, The Naked Kiss pummels the viewer with; Who is she? What led up to this moment? Where are we going? Pure lurid pulp, the film is among the titles available from the film aficionado distribution company,
The Criterion Collection.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


And above all, watch with glittering eyes 
the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden 
in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic
will never find it.

—Roald Dahl (The Minpins)

There is magic in the illustrations of the late Rokuro Taniuchi (1921-1981).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Division of property

Why We Broke Up, written by Daniel Handler, Illustrated by Maira Kalman
Little, Brown Books (2011)

Min Green has broken up with her boyfriend, Ed Slaterton, and writes a long letter explaining all the reasons why, which she will include with a box of mementos from their brief yet poignant time together.

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry written and illustrated by Leanne Shapton
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux (2009)

Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris have ended their relationship. A catalog of the items accrued during their romance is the evidence of the giddy high points and the bitter low points of four years together.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New York Look

In the 1940's Stanley Kubrick was living in New York City, working as a 
photographer for Look magazine. Several of his extraordinary images  are 
currently available (as digital prints) at 
V and M.

Monday, December 19, 2011

She can't help it

There are two things you can't help noticing about Gilbert Hernandez's inimitable character, Luba
Her figure of course, and the hammer she carries everywhere.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Charles and Ray mashup

Before moving into rap music, Ice Cube studied architectural drafting.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Waiting for a new season of Breaking Bad or Mad Men is a palpable ache. To fill that Walter White or Don Draper sized hole in your heart, look back.

Vince Gilligan, creator (executive producer and writer) of Breaking Bad got his start as a writer on The X-Files. Of the 30 episodes he wrote or co-wrote, Bad Blood, Drive and Pusher are among the best of The X-Files nine seasons.

Scully and Mulder interview Walter Modell in Pusher (The X-Files, 1996)

Matthew Weiner, creator/executive producer/writer of Mad Men, worked as a writer and producer for the HBO hit, The Sopranos.  The Blue Comet, an episode which Weiner co-wrote with series creator David Chase, is a masterful mix of tension and carnage. What may slip under the radar is Weiner's comedic writing for Andy Richter Controls the Universe. The show was cancelled due to poor ratings, but there's a whole lot of funny in its nineteen episodes.

Run for your life in The Blue Comet (The Sopranos, 2007)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dress code

How to wear a suit with sneakers

(Fa fa fa fa fa)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stay hungry

The quotable Steve Jobs

available here

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I enjoyed all of Malcolm Gladwell's books, and passed my copies on to friends and family. There's a new boxed set
of three of his bestsellers, adorned with lively illustrations by Brian Rea. These I'd keep!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Solo traveler

 American Girl in Italy, 1951 Ruth Orkin

The reaction to the iconic photo of a young girl making her way through what seems a sea of leering men is visceral; the anxiety is palpable, the contempt for their brutish behavior is instantaneous. Photographer Ruth Orkin's photo American Girl in Italy is her best known image. The model, 23-year old Ninalee Craig, was traveling solo in Italy when she met the 29-year old Orkin. The two adventurous women shared stories with one another about their travels when Orkin suggested they'd create images of what it was really like to travel alone as a young single woman. Orkin shot photos of Craig for several hours, asking for directions, shopping, flirting and sightseeing. "We were literally horsing around," Craig said. "It's not a symbol of harassment. It's a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time!"

(photos, Ruth Orkin)

Monday, December 12, 2011


Copyright, 1959