Updates, Live

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lake Needwood: Duck on the Shore



Lake Needwood: A Bit of Shore



The Wooden Falcon from Lake Needwood



Crane Collapse in Manhattan

A crane collapsed this morning over an apartment building in Manhattan, in Upper East Side. The crane operator, who was in the cab as the structure toppled, was killed (NY Times). It is the Manhattan second crane collapse in two months.

(New York, New York)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Moby-Dick and the Poems of Emily Dickinson (I taste a liquor never brewed)

Naming Liberty is the latest book by Jane Yolen: two parallel stories, of a small girl and a of a young artist. The girl emigrates to America and she wonders what name to choose for herself in the new country. The artist is dreaming of a monument he wants to build to honor freedom. The artist is Bartholdi, and the Statue of Liberty is the first thing the girl would see once arrived in America.

Jane Yolen is a writer of children's literature: she has the gift to explain on the language of kids history as it was. Her best known novella is The Devil's Arithmetic that tells the horrors of the Holocaust.

Jane Yolen gave her list of Five Most Important Books to Newsweek. Here it is:

  1. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (a book she rereads every 10 years, which is coming up again: she even loves the whale parts)
  2. Winter's Tales by Isak Dinesen (it has two of her favorite Dinesen stories, Sorrow Acre and The Sailor-Boy's Tale)
  3. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (her poems taught her to tell all the truth/but tell it slant).
  4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (this stood the world of children's picture books on its head in 1963)
  5. The Great Stink by Clare Clark (she read this mystery novel set in the London sewers in one long, stinking sitting)
I love the way Jane Yolen speaks about Moby-Dick. And I love the poetry of Emily Dickinson:

I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!

Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue.

When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove’s door,
When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!

Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler
Leaning against the sun!

Sorb un rachiu nemaigustat
Din ţoiuri de mărgăritar;
Nici butiile de pe Rin
Nu dau aşa spirt rar.

Cu rouă mă destrăbălez,
Mă-mbăt cu aer pur
Şi zile lungi de vară pierd
Prin crăşme de azur.

Când şi bondarul cherchelit
E scos pe-al nalbei prag,
Când nici un flutur nu mai bea
Eu mau vârtos îi trag,

Până ce sfinţi şi heruvimi
La geamuri vin în goană
S-o vadă-n soare şovăind
Pe mica beţivană.
Romanian rendering by Leon Leviţchi and Tudor Dorin

(Emily Dickinson)


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Maboroshi no hikari (Illusion)

Maboroshi no hikari, 1995
(image source: Trigon Film)
no copyright infringement intended

I found by pure chance a video on youTube, of stunning beauty. It was a scene from a movie I hadn't heard about, Maboroshi no hikari. I watched it and I was touched as never before. I had the terrible feeling of living again my whole life, condensed in five minutes.

The film director is Hirokazu Kore-eda. I did not know whether I would ever find this movie to watch it entirely. But the scene from the video was speaking more than thousand movies.

Life and death, and remorse, and questions without answers. Only watch this video, again and again. And don't get crazy.

(Eventually I saw the movie: Maboroshi - a radical cinematographic approach)

(Read also Again about Maboroshi no hikari)

(Japanese Cinema)


Memorial Day: Remembering Those Who Gave Their Lives

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: High School Bands from all over America

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Pearl Harbor Survivors

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Old Cars


(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Massachusetts High School Band

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Remembering the Kiss in Time Square

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Teddy Roosevelt

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Military Cars

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Remembering Civil War Veterans from all Fronts

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Remembering the 1812 War

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day: Remembering the American Revolution

(Memorial Day, 2008)

Memorial Day, 2008

Soldiers from all Wars

Flags of the Allied Countries

President Jackson

Black and White


Old Cars

(Washington, District of Columbia)

The Sun Was Playing with Trees' Shadows in the Water

The Rock Creek was a live theater stage where the sun was making tree shadows dance. Rocks were white, shadows were green, water was blue from the sky and white from the clouds.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Film Director Sydney Pollack Dies at 73

Film director Sydney Pollack died today, at 73.

They Shot Horses, Don't They? and The Way We Were, left on me a strong stamp. So many years passed but still every time I think at these two movies I feel touched the way I was when I saw them.

Here is what Michael Cieply wrote about him for NY Times:

Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay as director, producer and sometime actor whose star-laden movies like The Way We Were, Tootsie and Out of Africa were among the most successful of the 1970s and ’80s, died on Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 73.

The cause was cancer, said a representative of the family.

Mr. Pollack’s career defined an era in which big stars (Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Warren Beatty) and the filmmakers who knew how to wrangle them (Barry Levinson, Mike Nichols) retooled the Hollywood system. Savvy operators, they played studio against studio, staking their fortunes on pictures that served commerce without wholly abandoning art.

Hollywood honored Mr. Pollack in return. His movies received multiple Academy Award nominations, and as a director he won an Oscar for his work on the 1985 film Out of Africa as well as nominations for directing They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and Tootsie (1982).

Last fall, Warner Brothers released Michael Clayton, of which Mr. Pollack was a producer and a member of the cast. He delivered a trademark performance as an old-bull lawyer who demands dark deeds from a subordinate, played by George Clooney. (This is news? This case has reeked from Day One, snaps Mr. Pollack’s Marty Bach.) The picture received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and a Best Actor nomination for Mr. Clooney.

Mr. Pollack became a prolific producer of independent films in the latter part of his career. With a partner, the filmmaker Anthony Minghella, he ran Mirage Enterprises, a production company whose films included Mr. Minghella’s Cold Mountain and the documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry, released last year, the last film directed by Mr. Pollack.

Apart from that film, Mr. Pollack never directed a movie without stars. His first feature, The Slender Thread, released by Paramount Pictures in 1965, starred Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. In his next 19 films — every one a romance or drama but for the single comedy, Tootsie — Mr. Pollack worked with Burt Lancaster, Natalie Wood, Jane Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Nicole Kidman, Ms. Streisand and others.

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born on July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, Ind., and reared in South Bend. By Mr. Pollack’s own account, in the biographical dictionary World Film Directors, his father, David, a pharmacist, and his mother, the former Rebecca Miller, were first-generation Russian-Americans who had met at Purdue University.

Mr. Pollack developed a love of drama at South Bend High School and, instead of going to college, went to New York and enrolled at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. He studied there for two years under Sanford Meisner, who was in charge of its acting department, and remained for five more as Mr. Meisner’s assistant, teaching acting but also appearing onstage and in television.

Curly-haired and almost 6 feet 2 inches tall, Mr. Pollack had a notable role in a 1959 Playhouse 90 telecast of For Whom the Bell Tolls, an adaptation of the Hemingway novel directed by John Frankenheimer. Earlier, Mr. Pollack had appeared on Broadway with Zero Mostel in A Stone for Danny Fisher and with Katharine Cornell and Tyrone Power in The Dark Is Light Enough. But he said later that he probably could not have built a career as a leading man.

Instead, Mr. Pollack took the advice of Burt Lancaster, whom he had met while working with Frankenheimer, and turned to directing. Lancaster steered him to the entertainment mogul Lew Wasserman, and through him Mr. Pollack landed a directing assignment on the television series Shotgun Slade.

After a faltering start, he hit his stride on episodes of Ben Casey, Naked City, The Fugitive and other well-known shows. In 1966 he won an Emmy for directing an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater.

From the time he made his first full-length feature, The Slender Thread, about a social work student coaxing a woman out of suicide on a telephone help line, Mr. Pollack had a hit-and-miss relationship with the critics. Writing in The New York Times, A. H. Weiler deplored that film’s sudsy waves of bathos. Mr. Pollack himself later pronounced it dreadful.

But from the beginning of his movie career, he was also perceived as belonging to a generation whose work broke with the immediate past. In 1965, Charles Champlin, writing in The Los Angeles Times, compared Mr. Pollack to the director Elliot Silverstein, whose western spoof, Cat Ballou, had been released earlier that year, and Stuart Rosenberg, soon to be famous for Cool Hand Luke (1967). Mr. Champlin cited all three as artists who had used television rather than B movies to learn their craft.

Self-critical and never quite at ease with Hollywood, Mr. Pollack voiced a constant yearning for creative prerogatives more common on the stage. Yet he dived into the fray. In 1970, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, his bleak fable of love and death among marathon dancers in the Great Depression, based on a Horace McCoy novel, received nine Oscar nominations, including the one for directing. (Gig Young won the best supporting actor award for his performance.)

Two years later, Mr. Pollack made the mountain-man saga Jeremiah Johnson, one of three closely spaced pictures in which he directed Mr. Redford.

The second of those films, The Way We Were, about a pair of ill-fated lovers who meet up later in life, also starred Ms. Streisand and was an enormous hit despite critical hostility.

The next, Three Days of the Condor, another hit, about a bookish C.I.A. worker thrust into a mystery, did somewhat better with the critics. Tense and involving, said Roger Ebert in The Chicago Sun-Times.

With Absence of Malice in 1981, Mr. Pollack entered the realm of public debate. The film’s story of a newspaper reporter (Sally Field) who is fed a false story by federal officials trying to squeeze information from a businessman (Paul Newman) was widely viewed as a corrective to the adulation of investigative reporters that followed Alan J. Pakula’s hit movie All the President’s Men, with its portrayal of the Watergate scandal.

But only with Tootsie, in 1982, did Mr. Pollack become a fully realized Hollywood player.

By then he was represented by Michael S. Ovitz and the rapidly expanding Creative Artists Agency. So was his leading man, Dustin Hoffman.

As the film — a comedy about a struggling actor who disguises himself as a woman to get a coveted television part — was being shot for Columbia Pictures, Mr. Pollack and Mr. Hoffman became embroiled in a semi-public feud, with Mr. Ovitz running shuttle diplomacy between them.

Mr. Hoffman, who had initiated the project, argued for a more broadly comic approach. But Mr. Pollack — who played Mr. Hoffman’s agent in the film — was drawn to the seemingly doomed romance between the cross-dressing Hoffman character and the actress played by Jessica Lange.

If Mr. Pollack did not prevail on all points, he tipped the film in his own direction. Meanwhile, the movie came in behind schedule, over budget and surrounded by bad buzz.

Yet Tootsie was also a winner. It took in more than $177 million at the domestic box office and received 10 Oscar nominations, including best picture. (Ms. Lange took home the film’s only Oscar, for best supporting actress.)

Backed by Mr. Ovitz, Mr. Pollack expanded his reach in the wake of success. Over the next several years, he worked closely with both Tri-Star Pictures, where he was creative consultant, and Universal, where Mirage, his production company, set up shop in 1986.

Mr. Pollack reached perhaps his career pinnacle with Out of Africa. Released by Universal, the film, based on the memoirs of Isak Dinesen, paired Ms. Streep and Mr. Redford in a period drama that reworked one of the director’s favorite themes, that of star-crossed lovers. It captured Oscars for best picture and best director.

Still, Mr. Pollack remained uneasy about his cinematic skills. I was never what I would call a great shooter or visual stylist, he told an interviewer for American Cinematographer last year. And he developed a reputation for caution when it came to directing assignments. Time after time, he expressed interest in directing projects, only to back away. At one point he was to make Rain Man, a Dustin Hoffman picture ultimately directed by Mr. Levinson; at another, an adaptation of The Night Manager by John le Carré.

That wariness was undoubtedly fed by his experience with Havana, a 1990 film that was to be his last with Mr. Redford. It seemed to please no one, though Mr. Pollack defended it. “To tell you the truth, if I knew what was wrong, I’d have fixed it,” Mr. Pollack told The Los Angeles Times in 1993.

The Firm, with Tom Cruise, was a hit that year. But Sabrina (1995) and Random Hearts (1999), both with Harrison Ford, and The Interpreter (2005), with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, fell short, as Hollywood and its primary audience increasingly eschewed stars for fantasy and special effects.

Mr. Pollack never stopped acting; in a recent episode of Entourage, the HBO series about Hollywood, he played himself.

Among Mr. Pollack’s survivors are daughters, Rachel and Rebecca , and his wife, Claire Griswold, who was once among his acting students. The couple married in 1958, while Mr. Pollack was serving a two-year hitch in the Army. Their only son, Steven, died at age 34 in a 1993 plane crash in Santa Monica, Calif.

In his later years, Mr. Pollack appeared to relish his role as elder statesman. At various times he was executive director of the Actors Studio West, chairman of American Cinematheque and an advocate for artists’ rights.

He increasingly sounded wistful notes about the disappearance of the Hollywood he knew in his prime. The middle ground is now gone, Mr. Pollack said in a discussion with Shimon Peres in the fall 1998 issue of New Perspectives Quarterly. He added, with a nod to a fellow filmmaker: It is not impossible to make mainstream films which are really good. Costa-Gavras once said that accidents can happen.


Gaylord: the Atrium



Photo of the Day: May 26


The New Billboard from Times Square

The store is expected to be unveiled, and the billboard officially illuminated, next fall.

I have at home an old poster: the image of Times Square as it was in 1930. I will write about it sometime in the next days. Today, I'm giving you the image of the new giant sign that will stand over the Dow-Jones zipper. It's advertising the Walgreen.

I know that the news will horrify many New-Yorkers, as they can see how their landmarks turn crazy and get nuts. So, if a sad joke is allowed, Walgreen will make even Times Square look green.

Glenn Collins has the story in NY Times - How to Stand Out in Times Square? Build a Bigger and Brighter Billboard. Here you go:

They could be 212-foot-high, flat black stealth bomber wings studded with tiny jewels, soaring 17 stories above the crossroads of the world.

Soon enough, their gemlike lights will glow brilliantly as the signature elements of the largest advertising billboard in Times Square, trumpeted by its designers as the world’s most complex, powerful and digitally advanced new supersign, with unequaled high-resolution graphics.

The billboard, traditionally called a spectacular on the Great White Way, is already visible, yet still very much under construction. In sheathing the east, west and south sides of 1 Times Square, it will show the flag of the Walgreen Company, the nation’s largest drugstore chain in sales, which is promoting a new three-level, 16,200-square-foot emporium in the building’s ground-floor retail space, which has been empty for seven years.

The multicomponent, 250,000-pound sign will be programmed from street level to 341 feet high at the top of the building, on the traffic island between Broadway and Seventh Avenue at 42nd Street. Best known as the mother ship for a patchwork of billboards and the place where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, the building was originally called the Times Tower, the 25-story, 1904 headquarters of the newspaper that gave the square its name.

The store is expected to be unveiled, and the billboard officially illuminated, next fall.

The sign will have 12 million light-emitting diodes, known as L.E.D.’s — 17,000 square feet of them, which is more than a third of an acre, said Arthur Gilmore, president of the Gilmore Group, a Manhattan design and branding consulting firm, which created the sign. Including its digital and vinyl decorative components, it will be 43,720 square feet in area.

The new spectacular will be larger than any sign in Times Square, said Barry E. Winston, a Times Square project consultant who has been a billboard expert for more than 50 years. He said it would surpass the current behemoth, the 11,000-square-foot Nasdaq sign on Broadway at 43rd Street.

Walgreen is trying to raise its visibility in New York, a city seemingly overrun by Duane Reade, Rite Aid and CVS, where residents seem to need another drugstore even less than they need another bank.

This does not deter Walgreen, which sees the sign and the store as a focal point for us nationally, said Craig M. Sinclair, a Walgreen divisional advertising vice president.

Walgreen has 22 stores in the five boroughs; it will have 5 more by the end of the year, and plans a dozen more by 2010. Mr. Sinclair estimated that the sign would be seen by 1.6 million passers-by daily.

There was a jumble of signs at 1 Times Square, and no continuity, Mr. Gilmore said. Now, three sides of the building will be programmed as a single entity.

And so, the sign components of the east and west facades of the building, which are 341 feet tall and 143 feet wide, will be programmed in a synchronized way, as a single animation, said Meric Adriansen, a managing partner of D3, a digital design company in North Bergen, N.J., that designed the hardware and software for Walgreen. These animations — largely advertising spots — will run from 15 to 60 seconds.

Enhancing the digital screens will be passive, or nondigital, custom-printed decorative opaque vinyls as well as lighter printed vinyl-mesh scrims of the kind used in bus graphics. The scrims are perforated so that they do not rip apart in the wind.

Other advertisers with screens on the northern face of the building have long-term leases. Those screens will remain, as will several nondigital vinyl billboards on the east and west facades.

In the language of supersigns, the Walgreen billboard will be densely populated with L.E.D.’s that are as close as six millimeters apart.

The sign will marshal enough candlepower to withstand the sun at high noon. Its images will be projected by 12 million red, green and blue L.E.D.’s programmed to glow in different configurations so that the brains of human observers interpret them as images. A trillion colors are programmable.

The elements of the sign, programmed and directed from a control room in the building, require 200 disk drives to govern both sides of the building.

The digital components of the sign, using 16.6 miles of power and data cables, require the installation of 77 10-foot-tall, 5,000-pound “cabinets” brought by truck from a steel fabricator in Oregon.

These cabinets, weatherproofed assemblages of diode arrays, are being lifted and bolted to 30 tons of new steel supports on the building, with more than a half million nuts, bolts and screws.

On a recent night, a cabinet section dangled from a crane as riggers bolted it into place.

The supersign’s distinctive features are the diagonals, as Mr. Gilmore called them: 27-foot-wide programmable digital elements on the east and west facades that will extend from about 12 feet above the ground.

The two diagonals will be interrupted by the Dow Jones zipper, as well as the tower’s structural elements, but the diagonals pull the sign and the building together, Mr. Gilmore said.

The diagonals will be extended above the building’s 224-foot parapet, up the sides of the south tower, with two digital signs 55 feet tall and 54 feet wide.

In addition, 13 5-foot-tall, high-definition plasma screens at street level and 17 additional 6-foot-square high-definition L.E.D. screens on the east and west facades will be programmable; and on those facades, there will be two 27-by-24-foot digital signs. There will also be a 54-by-32-foot active sign at the south facade.

Advertising possibilities for the sign are so robust that Walgreen plans to sell space to its suppliers for promotions. The company would not say how much it spent on the sign, but billboard advertisers said a sign of this size would cost at least $15 million.

The billboard is not guaranteed to boast about its size forever. An entrepreneur in downtown Los Angeles has promised to install two 14-story animated billboards celebrating Blade Runner, the 1982 dystopian science-fiction film. That project has yet to win approval from city agencies and overcome community opposition.

Meanwhile, a nebula of diodes will shine from 1 Times Square. It’s going to light up that canyon near 42nd Street, Mr. Gilmore said, and give you a suntan.

(New York, New York)

Would Bobby Jindal become the Vice of McCain?

The conventions for the Dems and GOP will come eventually and then will go, so by that time we'll know the vice of each of the two nominees. Everybody's speculating about Obama's vice (provided Obama will get the nomination, which is pretty sure, not yet absolutely sure), so, let's schmooze a little bit about GOP's vice. Possible vices to be attributed to John McCain: Mike, Joe, Hillary. Mike would bring the support of Chuck Norris, Joe would know when it's Sunni and when it's Shia, Hillary would answer the 3 AM call.

I'd have another suggestion: Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana. He is 37, son of Indian immigrants, and a maverick (so he would cope with the maverick number 1). To make it short: young, Indian, smart. What about that?

(Zoon Politikon)


Cornell Capa - JFK's Hands

Cornell Capa's photograph of John F. Kennedy's Hands, North Hollywood, California, September 9, 1960

Cornell Capa died on Friday (NY Times). He was 90.

(America viewed by Americans)

NASA Spacecraft Landed on Mars

Landing Area on Mars

NASA Spacecraft Landed on Mars (NY Times).

Scientists working on the Phoenix Mars Lander celebrate after the spacecraft landed successfully on Mars

The Space Traveler

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft made a safe, flawless landing Sunday on Mars.

During the final, tense minutes of the descent, long stretches of quiet in the mission support room were punctuated by cheers and clapping as confirmation of crucial events like the deployment of the parachute were confirmed.

Then, at 7:53 p.m. Eastern time, Richard Kornfeld, the lead communications officer for entry, descent and landing, announced: “Touchdown signal detected.”

The mission controllers, wearing identical blue polo shirts made for the occasion, erupted in cheers and began hugging one another in congratulations.

“It was better than we could have possibly wished for,” said Barry Goldstein, the project manager for the mission. “We rehearsed over and over again. We rehearsed all of the problems, and none of them occurred. It was perfect, just the way we designed it.”

At 9:53 p.m., there were more cheers as confirmation came that one more critical event, the unfolding of the solar arrays, had occurred without problem. And then the first pictures arrived: black-and-white images of the solar panels, of one of the lander’s footpads and of surrounding terrain, showing the polygonal fractures caused by repeated thawing and freezing.

The next few days will be spent checking out the condition of the spacecraft. Then it will begin the first up-close investigation of Mars’s northern polar region. That area became a prime subject of interest for planetary scientists after NASA’s orbiting Odyssey spacecraft discovered in 2002 vast quantities of water ice lying a few inches beneath the surface in the polar regions.

Mars’s surface is currently far too cold for life to exist, but in the past, the planet’s axis might have periodically tipped over so that its north pole pointed at the sun during summer. That could have warmed the ice into liquid water.

With liquid water comes the possibility of life.

On the Phoenix, a robotic arm with a scoop will dig into the ice layer. Instruments on the spacecraft included a small oven that will heat the scooped-up dirt and ice to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Analyzing the vapors will provide information on the minerals, and that will, in turn, provide clues about whether the ice ever melted and whether this region was habitable. The mission is to last three months.

“We see Phoenix as a stepping stone to future investigations of Mars,” said Peter H. Smith of the University of Arizona, the principal investigator of the mission.

But the spacecraft had to get to the surface first. Mission managers sent their last instructions to it around noon Eastern time on Sunday. From there, the spacecraft operated on autopilot all the way to the surface.

During the day Sunday, the pull of Mars’s gravity accelerated the spacecraft from 6,300 miles per hour to 12,700 m.p.h. when it entered the Martian atmosphere. The friction of the atmosphere slowed the craft down by 90 percent, then a parachute provided further drag. For the last kilometer down to the surface, 12 thrusters slowed Phoenix to a velocity of 5.4 m.p.h. before it bumped onto the surface.

Phoenix set down in a very flat spot, sitting at a tilt of about three-tenths of a degree.

The landing held an extra dose of anxiety, because the Phoenix has the same basic design as NASA’s Mars Polar Lander, which crashed while landing near the south pole in 1999. The Phoenix spacecraft was originally going to go to Mars’s equatorial region as Mars Surveyor 2001, but after investigations of the Polar Lander failure turned up major flaws in the design, that mission was canceled and the almost complete Surveyor spacecraft was put into storage.

Dr. Smith proposed resurrecting the Surveyor spacecraft as the Phoenix for a new mission. Testing identified more than a dozen flaws in the lander design, and mission managers believed they had fixed the problems.

NASA’s budget for the Phoenix is $420 million, which includes testing and retrofitting the spacecraft, outfitting it with new instruments, launching and operating the mission. The Canadian Space Agency contributed $37 million for one of the instruments, a weather station. In addition, the development and construction of the original Surveyor 2001 spacecraft cost $100 million.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Oldest Turkish Poem

Carved Turkish poem on the wall of Sabeel Mohammad Ali , Cairo

The Divan of the Lover

All the universe, one mighty sign, is shown;
God hath myriads of creative acts unknown:
None hath seen them, of the races jinn and men,
None hath news brought from that realm far off from ken.
Never shall thy mind or reason reach that strand,
Nor can tongue the King's name utter of that land.
Since 'tis his each nothingness with life to vest,
Trouble is there ne'er at all to his behest.
Eighteen thousand worlds, from end to end,
Do not with him one atom's worth transcend.

I am posting this poem as a homage to Pamuk: his unbelievable stories are universes of charms and miracles.



Gaylord: the Atrium Viewed from the Ballrooms Terrace




Gaylord National, the new landmark in DC Greater Metropolitan Area. It is on the Maryland shore of Potomac, in the PG County near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Alexandria is on the other side.

It is a huge construction, a resort and convention center with an enormous atrium that is a whole world on its own: tropical gardens, fancy boutiques, elegant restaurants, everything closed by a huge glass and metal structure, window and ceiling, and by the elevators, escalators and terraces leading to the upper floors of various hotels, ballrooms and conference halls. All very Americana.

To get there, I took a water taxi from Alexandria: it crossed the river in twenty minutes.

I saw two years ago the Gaylord from Texas, in Dallas/Fort Worth are: it was incomparably larger; they had there inside the atrium a river and a railroad! But Texas lives on another sizes.

(Washington, District of Columbia)


Friday, May 23, 2008

Lori Waselchuk - Mississippi Delta

Lori Waselchuk - South of New Orleans, Delta Dusk
(the photo appeared in today's NY Times)

(America viewed by Americans)

From Millet to Dali: Galerie Lareuse in Georgetown

Galerie Lareuse is in Georgetown, where Pennsylvania Avenue joins M Street. It is amazing how many art treasures are in a such a tiny room. You enter the small gallery, suddenly you are in a totally another world as the one you left on the street. You look around: enchanted discoveries surround you and you found yourself under a charming spell.

The curator of the gallery, Creg D. Kelley, is young and passionate, dedicated to his work. It is a pleasure to talk to him and to listen to his explanations about each art work there: 19th and 20th century European prints, contemporary American art, illustrated books, works on paper by original masters.

For the beginning, two photos that I tried to make there: Millet and Dali. Enjoy!

(Washington, District of Columbia)

Labels: , ,

Jerusalem in 1917

Blessed is He in Whose hand is the kingdom, and He has power over all things,
Who created death and life that He may try you-- which of you is best in deeds; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving,
Who created the seven heavens one above another; you see no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent God; then look again, can you see any disorder?
Then turn back the eye again and again; your look shall '~ come back to you confused while it is fatigued.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jason Wright

Jason Wright: Energy, Balance, Intuition

(Fine Art & Artists Gallery in Georgetown)

Fine Art & Artists Gallery in Georgetown

The curator is sometimes moody, but always very professional. And the exhibits are always first class. It is a must for one who wants to keep with the on-going of the Contemporary Art.

(Washington, District of Columbia)

(Contemporary Art)


Brookmont: Backyard and Shaft


The Workers of Steve Huston

As I was passing in front of these paintings I thought firstly that there were some Soviet artists again. Something subtle was different, though. Then I saw th signature: Steve Huston.

Steve Huston was born and raised in Alaska. He went to study fine arts at Pasadena, working each summer in construction to pay his tuition. He started his artistic career as a commercial illustrator, and passed to pure fine arts after nearly a decade, by 1995.

There is a mastership of tones in his work, and Mr. Huston has a great admiration for the early Tonalists.

Principle Gallery)

The Tennis Player according to Oriabinsky

If we gather all Soviet artists under the label of Socialist Realism and do not look behind and beyond then we could be wrong. This ping-pong player was painted in the 1970's. The guy has a kind of dry humor: dry, not cynical - it is dry in order to give us a signal, hey folks, forget about Socialist Realism and Real Socialism, just laugh and feel good. He is just playing with us, for him the game is an imaginative dance and we are challenged to join.

Principle Gallery)

Aaron Morgan Brown - Museology

(Principle Gallery)


Nobuhito Tanaka - Korea, Nocturnal Cityscapes

Nobuhito Tanaka
The Night Lights of Itaweon
Shinkon Nights

(Principle Gallery)