Archive for ‘Art’

October 8, 2020

Copaganda

Officer Friendly

Copaganda, a portmanteau of ‘cop’ and ‘propaganda,’ is the phenomenon in which news media and other social institutions promote celebratory portrayals of police officers with the intent of swaying public opinion for the benefit of police departments and law enforcement. Copaganda has been defined by cultural critics as ‘media efforts to flatter police officers and spare them from skeptical coverage’ and ‘pieces of media that are so scarily disconnected from the reality of cops that they end up serving as offbeat recruitment ads.’

The term has gained more popularity in the wake of the George Floyd protests as the United States’ media structure publicly reckons with its role in perpetuating overly fawning or unrealistic portrayals of the police, which activists believe has contributed to downplaying the effects of police brutality in the United States.

read more »

September 12, 2020

Blowin’ in the Wind

The Gaslight Cafe

Blowin’ in the Wind‘ is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and released as a single and on his album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ in 1963. It has been described as a protest song, and poses a series of rhetorical questions about peace, war, and freedom. The refrain ‘The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind’ has been described as ‘impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind.’

The song was published for the first time in May 1962, in the sixth issue of Broadside, the magazine founded by Pete Seeger and devoted to topical songs. The theme may have been taken from a passage in folk singer Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, ‘Bound for Glory,’ in which Guthrie compared his political sensibility to newspapers blowing in the winds of New York City streets and alleys. Dylan was certainly familiar with Guthrie’s work; his reading of it had been a major turning point in his intellectual and political development.

read more »

Tags:
August 24, 2020

Your Show of Shows

 Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca

Your Show of Shows was a live 90-minute variety show that was broadcast weekly in the United States on NBC from the winter of 1950 through the summer of 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Other featured performers included comedian Carl Reiner, actor Howard Morris, singer and actor Bill Hayes, baritone singer Jack Russell, pop singer Judy Johnson, jazz band The Hamilton Trio, and the soprano Marguerite Piazza. Actor José Ferrer made several guest appearances on the series.

Writers for the series included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, Selma Diamond, Joseph Stein, Michael Stewart, Tony Webster (the only Gentile among the show’s writers), and Carl Reiner who, though a cast member, also worked with the writers. (Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen joined the writing staff for later Caesar ventures.) The series is historically significant for the evolution of the variety genre by incorporating situation comedies (sitcoms) such as the running sketch ‘The Hickenloopers’; this added a narrative element to the traditional multi-act structure.

read more »

Tags:
August 18, 2020

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Midnight City

“Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” is the sixth studio album by French electronic music band M83, released in 2011. It is M83’s last album with keyboardist Morgan Kibby and the band’s first full double album.

Prior to recording Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Anthony Gonzalez had moved from his native France to Los Angeles. Describing the move in an interview, Gonzalez said: ‘Having spent 29 years of my life in France, I moved to California a year and a half before the making of this album and I was excited and inspired by so many different things: by the landscape, by the way of life, by live shows, by movies, by the road trips I took alone… I was feeling alive again and this is, I feel, something that you can hear on the album.’

read more »

Tags:
August 11, 2020

Off-White

Virgil Abloh

Off-White (stylized as OFF-WHITE c/o VIRGIL ABLOH) is an Italian luxury fashion label founded by American designer Virgil Abloh. The label has collaborated with Nike, Levi, Jimmy Choo, IKEA and Évian. In 2019, José Neves, owner of Farfetch, an online luxury fashion retail platform, purchased New Guards Group, the parent organization of Off-White for US$675 million.

The company was first founded as ‘PYREX VISION’ by Virgil Abloh in the Italian city of Milan in 2012. The name was abandoned after coming under criticism for printing ‘PYREX 23’ on the classic Ralph Lauren rugby flannel silhouette, and reselling them for a premium $550 price tag. Abloh then rebranded the company as Off-White, which he describes as ‘the grey area between black and white as the color off-white’ to the fashion world.

read more »

Tags: ,
August 6, 2020

Gamehendge

The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Gamehendge is the fictional setting for a number of songs by the rock band Phish. Most of the songs can be traced back to ‘The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday’ (or TMWSIY), the senior project of guitarist and primary vocalist Trey Anastasio, written while he attended Goddard College in 1987.

The recording of TMWSIY has been heavily circulated among fans and is considered by some to be an unreleased Phish album. Outside of the songs from TMWSIY, there are numerous other songs set in the fictional universe of Gamehendge.

read more »

Tags:
July 22, 2020

Art Car

Department of Mutant Vehicles

An art car is a vehicle that has had its appearance modified as an act of personal artistic expression. Art cars are often driven and owned by their creators, who are sometimes referred to as ‘Cartists.’

Most car artists are ordinary people with no artistic training. Artists are largely self-taught and self funded, though some mainstream trained artists have also worked in the art car medium. Artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and others have designed BMW Art Cars, a project introduced by French racecar driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain In 1975, and their work has been reflected in racing cars like the BMW V12 LMR.

read more »

Tags:
June 17, 2020

Al Jaffee

Mad Fold-in

Al Jaffee (b. 1921) is an American cartoonist. He is notable for his work in the satirical magazine ‘Mad,’ including his trademark feature, the ‘Mad Fold-in.’ Jaffee was a regular contributor to the magazine for 65 years and is its longest-running contributor.

Between 1964 and 2013, only one issue of ‘Mad’ was published without containing new material by Jaffee. In a 2010 interview, he said, ‘Serious people my age are dead.’ With a career running from 1942 until 2020, Jaffee holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest-ever career as a comic artist. In 2013, Columbia University announced that he had donated most of his archives to the college.

read more »

May 4, 2020

George Barris

Batmobile

George Barris (1925 – 2015) was an American designer and builder of many famous Hollywood custom cars, most notably the Munster Koach and 1966 Batmobile.

George and his brother Sam were born in Chicago in the 1920s. Barris was three years old when their father, a Greek immigrant from Chios, sent the brothers to live with an uncle and his wife in Roseville, California, following the death of their mother. By age 7, Barris was making models of cars employing balsa wood and modifying their design and appearance with careful attention to details so his entries won contests sponsored by hobby shops.

read more »

April 16, 2020

Tensegrity

Skylon by George Morrow

Tensegrity [ten-seg-ri-tee], tensional integrity or floating compression is a structural principle based on a system of isolated components under compression inside a network of continuous tension, and arranged in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other while the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially.

The term was coined by inventor Buckminster Fuller in the 1960s as a portmanteau of ‘tensional integrity.’ The other denomination of tensegrity, floating compression, was used mainly by the constructivist artist Kenneth Snelson. Shorter columns or struts in compression are stronger than longer ones. This in turn led Fuller to make claims that tensegrity structures could be scaled up to cover whole cities.

read more »

March 30, 2020

Smurfette Principle

Smurfette

The Smurfette principle is the practice in media, such as film and television, to include only one woman in an otherwise entirely male ensemble. It establishes a male-dominated narrative, where the woman is the exception and exists only in reference to the men.

The term was coined by American poet and critic Katha Pollitt in 1991 in ‘The New York Times’: ‘Contemporary shows are either essentially all-male, like ‘Garfield,’ or are organized on what I call the ‘Smurfette principle’: a group of male buddies will be accented by a lone female, stereotypically defined… The message is clear. Boys are the norm, girls the variation; boys are central, girls peripheral; boys are individuals, girls types. Boys define the group, its story and its code of values. Girls exist only in relation to boys.’

read more »

March 19, 2020

Creative nonfiction

In Cold Blood

Creative nonfiction (also known as verfabula) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as academic or technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact but is not written to entertain based on prose style.

For a text to be considered creative nonfiction, it must be factually accurate, and written with attention to literary style and technique. ‘Ultimately, the primary goal of the creative nonfiction writer is to communicate information, just like a reporter, but to shape it in a way that reads like fiction.’ Forms within this genre include biography, autobiography, memoir, diary, travel writing, food writing, literary journalism, chronicle, personal essays, and other hybridized essays.

read more »