Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sidewalk Cafes & More... Pt. I

This is my collection of the cafes and table & chairs...
So inviting, delightful and evocative of my time at the sidewalk cafes in France.

I was about 4 or 5 here with my brother and stepmother in France.

A gorgeous white table cloth table with chairs at the Milleridge Inn, NY...

I loved that photograph so much, I painted it...

I love this quiet little corner table at the famous
Elaine's in NYC - where they filmed my favourite movie, "Manhattan"

Here is a sidewalk café in Shelter Island, NY

I just had to paint it!
More to come...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good Night Sweet Princes

Sydney Pollack - I was talking to a friend about Sydney Pollack just a few days ago and then when I arrived home late that night, got the news that he'd passed away. I'd been thinking about his many roles, his incredible range, his unusual contribution to the film industry. I'd always enjoyed him - even saw him just recently in a foreign film. He was not only a director, producer, actor and writer, but served two years in the Army, you'll notice him in many various screen roles, and his name in the credits of many films over the past 40+ years.

Harvey Korman - What a funny man... and I always thought of him as kind of sexy, too! His was a wonderful American life. Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in "Blazing Saddles," died Thursday. It's ironic, because my April 4 blog featured him - I'd been inspired by an interview I'd seen with Tim Conway on the Catholic Channel... and now one of the greatest funny men of American history is gone - as is the golden age of comedy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Digital Nourishment

An artist constantly seeks and thrives on the use of new media in order to inspire a fresh approach to her modern works. I, myself, thrive on digital nourishment - the Internet and HD TV. I've enjoyed watching Gallery HD's 'Art Star' - a show that gives eight unknown painters, sculptors, video artists and photographers the chance to blossom in their own way. And 'Concrete Canvas' - where artists "transform pavement in cities around the world" into great 3-D works of art. They also have a series of shows that challenges three artists to create a work similar to a great master (Hopper, Cezanne, et. al.), but in a new setting. And they broadcast a wonderful documentary on Vermeer, whose use of the camera obscura is fascinating. Another interesting person that they interviewed was Lorna Simpson - an artist and photographer who made her name in the '80s and '90s.

Featured Artist:
Tamara Lance is a marvelously gifted and imaginative artist whose photography and graphic manipulations are a sight to behold. She's very adept at Illustrator and PhotoShop techniques, but also works with traditional media. Tamara is a poet, a painter and photog-extraordinaire of abandoned sites and buildings as well as distressed objects that personify lives once lived. She's created many a series, but each work is important as a standalone piece of art. Her portfolio is explosive with intense moods, irony and emotion in the subjects she chooses to analyze and re-define. Her photographs transport the viewer to a space where they may experience the life-still-living in the ghosts of the past. The asylums she's photographed are particularly alarming as literal portraits of forgotten souls. But my favourite photos are her angels, the abandoned churches, and that wonderful picture of a brokedown piano and the sheet music that once brought its keys to life. She also designs jewelry, creates wildly original posters, and is a hilarious cartoonist (I should know! She's been making fun of me for YEARS!) Her self-portraits document the growth of an artist over more than ten years; they're riveting, yet add that touch of humour and irony that is intrinsic to her personality. At such a young age, her oeuvre is impressive, as she has managed to amass quite an eclectic portfolio, which is haunting yet humorous, evocative, and just plain fun! This is an up-and-coming artist to keep your eye on! more...

I've really enjoyed collaborating with Tami on some of my recent digi-food photos. My local sushi chefs laugh at me all the time when I photograph my dinner... I tell them I e-mail the photos to my sister and she makes them into works of art. You can view some of our recent collaborations on her MySpace page... and here's her Las Vegas roll, from my photo... and there are more of her vector illustrations of sushi on her Shutterstock gallery.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Green Logic

Everything in our culture and especially corporate America is suddenly turning green. Everywhere you look, is a new green version of old logos, green ads, green this, green that... I say we need to stop looking at the so-called "Green" campaign as something new and different and faddish, but see it for what it is: a political campaign. This campaign going on in America is trying very hard to rear its ugly head into our checkbooks by convincing us that we need to do something to contribute other than use our brains and simply 'think globally, acting locally.' "Carbon Credits" and "Your Carbon Footprint" are brainwashing gimmicks invented to make us feel guilty for living on earth.

Don't be fooled by the "Greens" (especially rich celebrities who ride around in private jets, but want you to turn off your air-conditioners) who are trying to convince us that we need to move away from capitalism. America was built on consumerism and has always been a leading, productive capitalistic society. We can be productive and environmentally conscious at the same time. You don't need an SUV if you're a single person or only have a couple of kids! It's pure logic!

Forget about nuts like Sheryl Crow who had the nerve to propose "a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting" and perhaps "just washing that one square out." She doesn't seem to want to pass a law, just humiliate us into obedience. I'm all for ecology, nonviolence and social justice, but these kinds of nuts are taking things too far... and getting a lot of publicity in the process. Don't think they're doing it for free.

We shouldn't try to educate ourselves about how to save the environment from ill-informed shills like Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbra Streisand or Al Gore (who while in office for eight years did NOTHING to help the environment) or advertisements showcasing scared and confused Americans, including children and senior citizens, wondering about the coming apocalypse caused by global warming.

Read what the Founder of The Weather Channel, John Coleman, says about it
HERE ...and what's happened to what used to be the wonderful TWC since.

I don't know about you, but I've been recycling long before it ever became mandatory. I actually had bins in my humble one-bedroom apartment years ago (in the '80s) and dragged them to the recycling plant every couple of weeks... and back then, it was VERY inconvenient... but I considered it a worthwhile endeavor - my contribution to keeping this earth of ours clean. I attended the first Earth Day rallies and have always been very concerned about the consequences of our actions on this planet.

But it's a problem with a logical solution - if everyone does their share, we won't have the problems over which these so-called "Green" campaigns are stirring up all this confusion. We don't have to pay more or buy strange (EXPENSIVE) little light bulbs that are more trouble than they're worth. We just all need to do our share to conserve and not be so lazy about it. Turn the lights off when you're not using them. Don't run the A/C or turn up the heat when no one's home. AND DON'T LITTER!

I get so mad when I see people littering, even tossing a cigarette butt on the ground or out the windows of their cars. It's just plain lazy, rude and inconsiderate - and it should be a crime. I agree with the Vatican, which fifteen hundred years after the Roman Catholic Church introduced the original list of seven deadly sins, has now updated the roster for a new age. "You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbor's wife, but also by ruining the environment ... and technology is a blessing, but it can also be a danger. Take pollution, for example - it's a variation of the original mortal sin of gluttony or selfishness. Protecting the environment, after all, comes from the Bible's book of Genesis: God created the world and placed man in it to thrive and not destroy. But the population explosion and the production of extremely toxic materials make the stakes much higher.

One of the worst things I've seen lately are seagulls in fast food parking lots picking up trash with their beaks, looking for food. I felt so sad that some jerk was so thoughtless as to toss his or her bag of trash out of the car instead of walking a few feet more to the nearest trashcan.

A local grocery store manager stood before me tonight challenging me for complaining about all the garbage and cigarette butts I had to wade through to get through the front door of the store. He had the nerve to tell me how many so-called compliments he'd been getting on the cleanliness of the store. Meanwhile, there were pieces of trash right where he stood and a big long track of juice on the floor by the checkouts - all the way out the door. And the produce section looked dangerously vile. Yet he didn't have the decency to even address the issue, but chose rather to make all kinds of excuses while his lazy teenaged 'staff' just stood there not doing their jobs. It's not the first time I complained about all the trash - the first guy assured me something would be done about it... yet today that store and parking lot are trashier than ever!

If we can't even clean up our own yards and sidewalks or do our jobs, if we turn a blind eye to situations like these, things WILL get worse. The earth is wonderfully regenerative, as is the human body. Treat the earth like it's your own body and we'll all be healthier and happier.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Newt Gingrich in New York

I was thrilled to be able to see Fmr. Speaker Newt Gingrich and his co-author, William R. Forstchen at the Book Revue in Huntington, NY last Tuesday talking about their new book in the WWII series, Days of Infamy. It was an amazing experience listening to Mr. Forstchen talking about his collaboration with Newt and their methods of research. He told stories in bone-chilling detail about (their research for the previous book, Pearl Harbor) going deep into the hull of a capsized ship from WWII and how the sailors' bones were found years later... and how being a pilot and flying some of the actual WWII planes, and walking the Civil War battlefields, helped him to be the great historian he is today.

It was really interesting to hear both he and Newt describe how they're able to get together and write these series of books, logistically as well as the meeting of minds. Newt's extensive experience working with world leaders, coupled with Mr. Forstchen's expertise in military history makes this a winning match and there are many more books to come - they make us want to learn more about American history!

But the eye-opening part of the evening was hearing Newt Gingrich speaking about a nuclear holocaust and how desperately we need to rebuild our sorely lacking Homeland Security Dept. It was frightening to hear what he had to say about the very real possibility of another strike on America. I asked him, "What do you attribute to the fact that we haven't been hit since 9/11?" to which he replied, candidly, "I don't know," and then went on to explain how unprotected we really are. But he did say, all the mistakes of the G.W. Bush Administration aside, a very different history will be written about this man many years from now, which is something I've always believed.

Newt is about
solutions and though I believe he'd make a great president, I think he certainly is effective as a private citizen. He's a real national treasure. Here's a cute YouTube video Newt made.

Speaking of the threat of terrorism on American soil, I'm presently reading an amazing book by my friend,
Brigitte Gabriel. Every American needs to read this book! Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America is the true story of how she survived Islamic hatred and attacks growing up in Lebanon and is now on a passionate crusade in her adoptive country, America, to warn us all that the same thing could happen to us if we don't wake up to the reality of the very real threat living amongst us all. More on this later...