Saturday, August 16, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

Amy Adams's fantastic romp, 'Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day', is being released on DVD on Tuesday.

The movie is a wonderful little sense-of-life flick. Based in 1930's, there is little to no modern cynicism, and quite honestly it is better than most of the 1930s movies I love so much. Miss Adams who has never missed beat -- no matter what size her role, e.g., 'Catch Me If You Can', 'Enchanted', 'Charlie Wilson's War' -- is at her absolute best in presenting a unique joyous, vivacious character and she looks absolutely marvelous doing it.

If you like the spirit of good keystone cop type movies, and the sense of pure joy you get from the musicals of the 30's and 40's, I think you may just love this film as much as I do.

If you are sold, you can order it from

By the bye:
Isn't Delysia just the coolest name ever? There was a time, when I dreamed of having three girls. I was not married or even dating at the time, but simply dreaming of having three little girls named Victoria, Juliana and Greta. When I heard the name Delysia, I quickly added a fourth girl to my perfect imaginary family.

No Wall, Open Immigration

It is very fitting that while our athletes are in China competing in the Olympics, America has started building her own 'great wall': Construction Underway on $57M San Diego Border Fence

This is a subject that I would love to write on when I have time. But for now some very good people have already created a website with articles that make the complete case on why America's borders should be open:

Open Immigration: Anti-Immigration is Anti-Americanism

All I will add at this time is that in addition to opening our borders, we should build an one hurderd fifty foot statue of a beautiful female figure, like a beacon, calling and welcoming, she will show the people the world the way to the United States of America. We should have her placed in NYC, inviting those who desire to live in freedom to come and join us.

Oh, I forgot, this has already been done!

Can build ourselves another and place it in San Diego Bay? And while we are at, how about one for Miami?

The New Colossus
Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps -- Success at Its Best

Thank you, Mr. Phelps!

Michael Phelps

By Berton Braley

If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it,
If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold other things tawdry and cheap for it;
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you'll sweat for it,
Fret for it,
Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or of man for it,
If you'll simply go after than that thing that you want,
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness not pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You'll get it!

An Interview with Art Historian Lee Sandstead

Somehow I did not know of this until five minutes ago. My art FBI are definitely slipping.

Ammendum 8/16/2008
I do not think the music fits, but I can't argue with the images -- most of them pulled from Mr. Sandstead's website: Daniel Chester French montage

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hiawatha, By Augustus Saint-Gaudens

I have yet to visit Florence to see Michelangelo's David -- although that is right at the top my list. Until that day, this is the closest I've come to what I imagine that experience would be like. The amount of skill and love of the human form this 'Hiawatha' shows is truly breathtaking.

I had heard of the sculptor Saint-Gaudens and knew he was an American sculpture. I also knew he was a contemporary and friend of Daniel Chester French and was a teacher/mentor/employer of Harriet Whitney Frishmuth. Both of which I did and still do consider my favorite American sculptors. But even though I knew he was part of this elite group, because of the works I had seen, I thought of Saint-Gaudens more as I do of Sullivan in relation to Frank Lloyd Wright, or Henry Cameron in relation to Howard Roark. Good, very good at what he did. The first. But his work seemed to lack the modern, fuly-realized American sense of life and artistic skill that I so loved about French and Frishmuth.

When I first saw Hiawatha in the American Wing of the the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York I learned how terribly wrong I was.

One of the great joys of the timing of that trip was that I was able to to dovetail my visit to the Met into the end of a tour Lee Sandstead was giving on stain glass --which happened to end in the America Wing. Since I had already spent a good hour enjoying the piece, I pulled Lee over and asked him to tell me everything he knew about it. Usually, this would have guaranteed me another hour of pleasure, but Lee only had one short story to tell.

Saint-Gaudens was eighteen at the time he did the piece. He had just finished up several years of training in Paris. While living in Rome, he started Hiawatha. His intent from the beginning was to have this piece be his introduction to the world. Needless to say, he was heard and the introduction was made.

I cannot recommended this piece and the American wing of the Met enough. With pieces by Saint-Gaudens, Frishmuth, French and a stunning piece of stain glass by Tiffany -- not to mention a full-size reproduction of the living room from Frank Lloyd Wright's Little House, it is my favorite wing in any museum I have been in.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hate Speech and Political Correctness

A few days ago on NPR, a high ranking official (with the proper number of chromosomes) from the Special Olympics was on NPR discussing the use of the word 'retard' -- specifically in the context of the new movie 'Tropic Thunder'. For more info, here is a link to an article on NPR's website:

What can I say... this man is a retard!

Yes, words can be hateful. Words can insight riots, and when used by very bad people they have the ability to speed the decline and destruction of the Western World. But when a country respects the freedom of speech, the only speech that is limited is that which causes direct, immediate and perceptual level danger in a very delimited context. Such as yelling fire in a _crowded_ movie theater.

I personally have and still occasionally tell friends when they do something stupid they are retarded. Like with the words bum and disabled, there are certain words that are just too good at their jobs to give up.

I have a great sympathy for those that are mentally handicapped and their families, and I certainly am not out making fun of disabled people. But at the same time that is what they are. The lack abilities that most of the rest of have and that we strive to achieve and perfect. No one should be striving to be blind, crippled or mentally impaired. If they are they have more serious problems than Down's syndrome.

Simply because a group uses the same words I do to carry hate filled messages and agendas, does not mean I have to stop using them. I have never pointed and laughed at someone who was either physically or mentally handicapped. I have never stopped anyone from pursing there dreams simply because of their limitations. But at the same time I can laugh and point at friend and call him retarded, lame, a fag, or a nigger -- but this last would just be silly since currently I do not have any black friends -- while intending no ill will toward any person who may somehow find offense with me saying it.

One's self-esteem comes from within, not from without. And in a country without laws to limit or force groups people to do things, no matter how many people use the word retard in jest, retards will have the same opportunities as if no one used the word. Limiting the words we can speak, does not change the ideas we hold in our own minds.

Stick and Stones, Brother! Learn the difference, already.


I do not recall every wanting to be a short, cranky Jew. But damn, if it doesn't have it uses. This is funny and right on subject!

Ammendum 8/22/2008
I finally had time this afternoon to see 'Tropic Thunder' and although it is very far from fine art, it was surprisingly good for a modern-childish-Ben-Stiller-gross-out comedy. Again I have to take my hat off to Robert Downey Jr. The man is absolutely one of the best actors in Hollywood.

In line with this post though I want to say how utterly ridiculous it was that people were upset about this film. There was nothing in the film that was malicious. Although, the "retard" word was used a number of times, it was very rarely used as an insult. I couldn't help think that only reason people protested the movie was to see their names/causes in the paper. There is little to nothing for them to hang their hat on in this movie.

The scene about not playing a retard completely -- like Sean Penn did in 'I am Sam' -- but instead when you play a retard you have to make him likable, i.e., Rain Man and Forest Gump, was hilarious and possibly a little offensive, but hilarious just the same.

I don't get to say this often, so I am not going to let the opportunity pass, Tom Cruise, who has been more retarded than usual the past few years, was freakin awesome in his minor role as the Hollywood Executive.

So to wrap up, I will say that the only thing the "controversy" has done is to encourage me to start using 'retard' more often. Thankfully, I am cool enough to pull it off.

Anyone who doesn't think calling someone a retard is cool is retarded and should shut up and go stand in the corner!

Monday, August 11, 2008

In Penitence, Bouguereau

I first saw an image of this piece three years ago. I do not think it would be too much to say it was love at first site.

The girl is being punshied -- doing penitence. However as young childern are apt, she is not thinking about what she did wrong, she is checking if it is safe to look around and begin to plot her next adventure.

My young girl is now proudly displayed in my dinning room -- regularly reminding me to look for my next adventure.

George Bush on Freedom and Religion in China

I spent a good part of morning scanning the web -- news and blogs -- looking for information on Bob Costas' interview with George Bush last night. I have seen several articles which criticize Bush for things he said (like that the U.S. doesn't have problems) and how he said them, or how he presented himself.

But as usual what struck me were the things not reported or discussed, such as his glowing statements about religion, his religion, how proud he was to be a religious man, and the irony of the statement that once religion takes hold in a country it doesn't let go. Oh, Mr. President... you mean like the Dark Ages?

If he would have said something like 'once religious _freedom_ takes hold', it could have been spun positively. But what Mr. Bush is asking China to do is to trade 30-50 years of oppressive rule by a communistic/dictatorial government for one run by religion. That's doesn't sound like a good trade to me. Capitalism in whatever diluted form it is practiced in China is what has allowed it to make the giant steps it has over the past 20 years. Yes, there are things more fundamental than Capitalism must rest upon, but religion is, never was, and never can be that foundation. I hope China and/or the U.S. learns what that foundation is before we both are forced back into another religious dark age.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Man Carving His Own Destiny, By Albin Polasek

Recently I had the pleasure to defend this piece against what I consider are much lesser works of the same subject matter. The person who was casting the dispersions on this sculpture knew only of a poor replica done of the piece that is on display at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. Anyone that does a piece with this theme deserves great praise even for attempting it. However the pieces I've seen by other sculptors are second rate and/or have subtle secondary theme like carving yourself is and has to be fraught with errors and mistakes and missteps. One particularly disturbing version shows a man with scars on his legs where he erred.

Mistakes are likely to happen in real life, but art is there to show us the potential, the essence, the important. The important in life is not the mistakes or suffering we may experience, but the work, the triumph and the joy that is possible.

While on visits to the Polasek Museum, I have heard some great stories about both the sculptor and sculpture which I will not try to repeat here for fear of not retelling them precisely. I will instead continue to search the web for exact quotes.

This is one of the better I've come across:

"Albin Polasek was unable to find a model for the sculpture with the spirit he wanted, so he posed for it himself. There were many versions of it produced, however, before this particular edition. After Polasek completely lost the use of one side of his body due to paralysis, he wanted to have the sculpture reproduced for the grounds of his home in Winter Park. He engaged a sculptor to work under his supervision, however the new sculptor died before the sculpture was completed. Polasek then finished the sculpture with aid of his wife and his gardener. He guided the chisel in the hand of the workman."

By the bye, I received my first visitor this week from someone who was searching Google for "Capitalist Art". If there is such a thing as Capitalist art, or art for a Capitalist society and culture this is it!

Amendum 8/11/2008
There is a nice photo of "Man Carivng His Own Destiny" on Fullblown Technicolor
Here is an exceptionally cool photo of Polasek with his sculpture-in-progress
I am not as wild about this photo, but it offers some details that are not available in the others.
Here is an image of a copy of the original that is displayed in Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina:

Amendum 8/16/2008
Here are a couple of links to Bobbie Carlyle's 'Self-Made man'. The piece is nice, but I still favor Polasek's.

Andrea Bocelli & Sara Brightman

Admittedly, music is the art I am the least passionate about. I have even been known to say things like music is at its most useful when it is accompaying a visual art like movies or plays. I do not really mean this, but I would only call myself a fan of at most a dozen singers, bands, or muscians. And unlike some I can go days if not weeks and months without listening to any music and be no worse for the wear. If I tried to do the same with movies and/or paintings and scultpures it would be absolute torture.

However I do a have favorites and these two are at the top of the list: Andrea Bocelli and Sara Brightman. Hope you enjoy them as well.