Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Check Out: Found Magazine

Here is how Found editors describe themselves:

“we collect FOUND stuff: love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles- anything that gives a glimpse into someone else's life. anything goes.

we certainly didn't invent the idea of found stuff being cool. every time we visit our friends in other towns, someone's always got some kinda unbelievable found note or photo on their fridge. we wanted to make a magazine so that everyone can check out all the strange, hilarious and heartbreaking things people've picked up.”

Although, sometimes there is a sense of voyeurism while perusing Found magazine, I can’t help but be fascinated by the notes and pictures people have discovered. Sometimes the items are so weird or outrageous one might imagine an equally wacky back-story to explain it. At other times, the pictures and notes are extremely familiar. These can be equally interesting, as they reveal how damn similar everyone can be. The very concept of Found can make you more aware of your surroundings, like a scavenger hunt that is always on. In fact, I have even submitted one item to the people at Found.

The Found people also have a book out. So, if you can’t find the magazine try:

Found : The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World

By: Davy Rothbart

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Stephen Sondheim

Happy 75th birthday to the incomparable Stephen Sondheim. Thank you for keeping Broadway on its toes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Read It First: Books to read before you see the movie.

Once in a while, I hear about a film production of a book I really enjoyed. Since it is usually the case that film adaptations don’t live up to the source material, I want to recommend that people read the book first.

 Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

by Ann Brashares's Best of 2001

They were just a soft, ordinary pair of thrift-shop jeans until the four girls took turns trying them on--four girls, that is, who are close friends, about to be parted for the summer, with very different sizes and builds, not to mention backgrounds and personalities. Yet the pants settle on each girl's hips perfectly, making her look sexy and long-legged and feel confident as a teenager can feel. "These are magical Pants!" they realize, and so they make a pact to share them equally, to mail them back and forth over the summer from wherever they are. Beautiful, distant Lena is going to Greece to be with her grandparents; strong, athletic Bridget is off to soccer camp in Baja, California; hot-tempered Carmen plans to have her divorced father all to herself in South Carolina; and Tibby the rebel will be left at home to slave for minimum wage at Wallman's.

Over the summer the Pants come to represent the support of the sisterhood, but they also lead each girl into bruising and ultimately healing confrontations with love and courage, dying and forgiveness. Lena finds her identity in Greece and the courage not to reject love; Bridget gets in over her head with an older camp coach; Carmen finds her father ensconced with a new fiancée and family; and Tibby unwillingly takes on a filmmaking apprentice who is dying of leukemia. Each girl's story is distinct and engrossing, told in a brightly contemporary style. Like the Pants, the reader bounces back and forth among the four unfolding adventures, and the melange is spiced with letters and witty quotes. Ann Brashares has here created four captivating characters and seamlessly interwoven their stories for a young adult novel that is fresh and absorbing. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Auguste Rodin: The Burghers of Calais

Burghers of Calais

Burghers, alternative view

Though it is clearly impossible to fully express the power of a sculpture, or indeed any work of art, through a picture, I wanted to show a little bit of a work that is one of the most meaningful to me. The artist, Rodin, is best known for his “The Thinker” and “The Kiss”. For me though, “The Burghers of Calais” is his greatest work. It is essential to see this sculpture in person to comprehend its emotional power. Understanding the story portrayed lends the work even greater depth. The six men in the sculpture were leading citizens of their city, Calais. In 1347, during the Hundred Years War, Edward III besieged Calais. In an attempt to save their city and its citizens, the six burghers agreed to sacrifice their lives to become Edward’s hostages and take him the keys to the city.

Spencer Tunick & “Naked World”

Maine 2 - 1997
Maine 2 – 1997

Photographer Spencer Tunick specializes in images of nudes. The documentary, “Naked World”, follows him around the globe for his project “Nude Adrift”. His goal with this project was to photograph nudes on every continent, including Antarctica. Tunick’s work alternates between nude portraits and installations, for which the artist recruits very large groups to pose nude as part of a landscape or urban view. Personally, I found the latter images (an example is pictured above) to be the most remarkable of his work. It is also interesting to consider the juxtaposition of the intimacy of the solitary nudes and the dehumanization of the mass nudes.

Tunick expends a large amount of his energy in this film trying to convince everybody from potential models (recruited on the street), the general public and even people in the art community that his work is not sexual in nature. Though I was convinced, Tunick was largely unsuccessful in getting across the idea that sex is not inherently connected with nudity. Other interesting aspects of the film are the revealing looks at how different global cultures view nudity, art, gender relations, etc. Though Spencer Tunick is a talented artist, I feel that he and his art are of secondary interest in the film. I found the documentary more interesting as a look at the state of art and morality in today’s international society.

Note:Naked World” is a follow-up to a previous documentary about Tunick, “Naked States”. The earlier work follows Tunick around America. I have not yet seen this film.

Nude Adrift Portrait
Nude Adrift Portrait

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Watch: "Project Greenlight" on Bravo

I am so very happy to see that “Project Greenlight” has found new life on Bravo. I am even more excited to see that this year the great Wes Craven will join Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore in making a horror movie! Perhaps this film will actually stand a chance to make a profit, finally proving “Project Greenlight” viable. I hope so. The past two seasons have been extremely entertaining fish-out-of-water stories with doses of comedy from the seasoned pros like Moore and drama provided by the contest winners, constantly reminded that all their silver screen dreams could end with a single bad decision.

Project Greenlight
Bravo: Premieres March 15, 9/8C

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Academy Awards Fashion 2005


Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron
Lovely and ethereal. It’s a good thing she didn’t keep the “Aeon Flux” hair.

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
The color is stunning. Everything about this look is right.

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
The detailing and interesting color choices made this dress special.

 Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs and girlfriend Kim Porter
Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs and girlfriend Kim Porter
My pick for best-dressed couple of the evening.

Honorable Mentions:

Halle Berry
Halle Berry
Not crazy about the hair

Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst:
Sexy, classic, well-fitted and age appropriate

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow:
Lovely except for the distracting near wardrobe “malfunction” of the too tight bodice.


Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen
It just didn’t appeal to me. The dress seemed too dowdy and too young at the same time. What I especially disliked was the unflattering hairstyle.

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
I appreciate that he wants to send the message that he doesn’t care to be a part on the “Hollywood” crowd, but then why does he show up to all the awards shows? Vanessa Paradis looks quite lovely, but Depp’s suit looks like it is ill-fitting and unpressed.

 Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Tacky and unflattering

On The Fence:

Hilary Swank front
Hilary Swank back
Hilary Swank
From the back, drop dead. From the front, just funereal. I do applaud her for taking a bit of a risk here. Though there were no huge mistakes this year, there was also little originality.

 Laura Linney
Laura Linney
The color is all wrong, but I don’t hate it.