Tyrus Wong 1910-2016




Tyrus Wong was a Disney Legend, one of the influential artists who inspired much of the look and feel of the film Bambi. He was also an immigrant who came to these shores and was treated to racism and discrimination. In spite of all of that, he became a highly respected artist and illustrator.

Simon and Schuster is Making Hate Safe For the Mainstream




I think a boycott of CBS as a whole would be more appropriate, but what do I know?

Yiannopoulos’s payday was met with calls for a boycott of Simon and Schuster’s entire catalogue, which spans 35 imprints, including a call by a literary journal to not review any of the company’s books in 2017.

A representative for the company did not confirm the reported financial advance amount and said they do not comment on those figures. The literary agent working with Yiannopoulos has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast either.

In response to the announcement, The Chicago Review of Books vowed not to review a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017 due to the new book deal. The company typically publishes about 2,000 books per year.

“In response to this disgusting validation of hate, we will not cover a single @simonschuster book in 2017,” the journal announced on its Twitter account.

Some Simon & Schuster authors struggled with the boycott of their own publisher, noting that they don’t agree with Yiannopoulos’ views, but still need to sell books.

“(That face when your) publisher signs a hate troll & people call for a boycott & you’re like well yeah but um,” Simon & Schuster author Michael Robbins wrote on Twitter. “(It’s the) same imprint (that) published Trump’s ‘Crippled America.”

If you're going to take a racist hate monger, and give him a publishing deal, then you have to accept the fact that people are not going to stand for it. If that hurts Les Moonves and the CBS media empire, so be it. Making hate a mainstream product you can buy in stores is not a marketing plan I would want to be a part of. I have no idea what the management at that particular imprint of Simon and Schuster was thinking when they gave this Milo character a quarter of a million dollars. Perhaps they weren't thinking at all.

Everyone and everything surrounding the "Alt Right" is so toxic right now that for a major American media company to lavish money on someone with those ties is absolutely reprehensible. Clearly, this is never going to be acceptable.

There already is a vast "wingnut welfare" infrastructure that publishes this material and puts it into the marketplace. Anti-liberal books were all the rage for years until they stopped selling in adequate numbers. No one is censoring these ideas, but they should be subjected to the marketplace. Whatever a boycott of Simon and Schuster accomplishes is fine by me. You cannot and should not mainstream hate in America and not pay a significant price for it at the cash register.

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016




The Carrie Fisher that I will remember is the one who wrote great, great books and had a small but vital part in The Blues Brothers. That whole Star Wars thing has gotten blown out of proportion. Her work in the theater pretty much ensures that we won't remember her for all of the things she could do, and could do well.

Sing is a Better Movie Than Some Would Have You Believe




Really, what are the standards for an animated film to be considered "good?"

Despite some bad reviews here and here, I actually saw Sing and I thought it was a good movie. I liked it about as much as I liked Zootopia, so if you didn't like that, well, I don't know what to say. This film does not avoid sadness and it does not insult the intelligence of children. Yes, it is fun and upbeat and has some slapstick to it, but it does not avoid telling you that show business sucks most of the time. If I had to point to one thing that allows the film to succeed it is that it arrives without assuming you haven't already seen what goes on behind the scenes at talent shows. It assumes you know that there's going to be conflict and drama.

Sing owes a lot to the animation esthetic at Illumination (the Minion movie, whatever else) and you can easily be dazzled by what you see. It's a rich, diverse tapestry and, a few stereotypes aside, it works very well on the screen. So, relax. You're not going to be ripped off.

Now, having said that, the plot is a mile wide and an inch deep. You know that down on his luck Buster Moon is going to take a fall and climb right back up. You know how the movie will end when the whole thing kicks off, but it's the journey that works. You will not mind the episodic format and you will want to see more of certain characters. There's so much happening in this film that the plot will not bother you at all because you're already seeing all the different ways these characters are looking for some sort of validation.

Somehow, they made Matthew McConaughey lose every bit of Texas from his voice. Somehow, they managed to make Scarlett Johansson not sound exactly like herself but like a teenaged girl instead. Reese Witherspoon and Seth McFarlane are part of a broadly drawn cast of weirdos and misfits and it all somehow works. McFarlane in particular fits into the whole thing like a completely square peg being dropped through the other side of a round hole. He's not even really part of the team, he just kind of floats through this thing like comic relief. And, as always, you're going to wonder why Jennifer Hudson doesn't already have her own damned franchise already.

There's an especially weird diversion towards the end of the second act that involves washing cars and acting loopy and it's absolutely worth the price of admission. The rest I'm not giving away.

 

Oscar Wilde




Oscar Wilde returns to England:

A portrait of the writer Oscar Wilde, which had to be sold off after he was accused of gross indecency, is to return from America for the first time in nearly a century. It will be displayed at Tate Britain, in an exhibition called Queer British Art 1861-1967, which opens in April.

Robert Harper Pennington, an American artist who painted the full-length portrait (1881), gave it to Wilde and his wife Constance as a wedding present in 1884. It was the couple’s most prized possession, hung above the fireplace in their London home. But in 1895 Wilde was arrested and later sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for his homosexual relationship with Alfred Douglas. 

Wilde’s legal expenses led to him being declared bankrupt, and the Pennington portrait had to be sold. Later, in the 1920s, it was bought by a US collector and the portrait was subsequently acquired by the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Are we any more enlightened now than we were in Wilde's time? You can be broken by the law and rendered destitute for less than loving someone nowadays. I think what has changed is that it can happen before Piers Morgan has a chance to open up his puke funnel and comment.

Bootleg Donald Duck




Very well done, and found on the streets of Stuttgart, Germany many years ago.

The Throng Below the Eiffel Tower




This is still one of my favorite photos.

In my opinion, the Eiffel Tower is plenty high enough. This was taken looking down from the first platform. At this time of the year, which was roughly November of 2011, there was a skating rink and some food vendors on that level. We then went up to the second platform. You would think, oh, that's not very high and of course, you have to go to the top.

Nope.

If you go up to the second platform, that's plenty high enough. You do not need to go to the top. I did not go to the top. Oh, hell no.

Abstract Number 109




This is the first set of abstract paintings that I have done in months and I wanted to kick things off with number 109. I'm going to reorganize the abstract painting series into a numerical sequence and really see what I can do to enhance the ones that are out there. It makes sense to offer these for download and for purchase on Society6 and Fine Art America, but don't worry--they're still here and they'll all be available.

Abstract Painting




This is an older painting, and I've renamed and renumbered it. What stands out to me is that this is one of the few that I've done on watercolor paper that really turned out nice in that you can see the three dimensional aspects of the painting.

Birds on Frozen Water




This was shot from the driver's seat of my car one morning when I was stuck in traffic. The impossibly busy pond and the blue effect of the shore in the distance made this work when it really shouldn't have worked at all. I left much of the foreground in the photo because that also seemed to make sense. This particular pond is in Central Maryland, somewhere near Route 1, between Highways 100 and 175 or so.

Cloudy Day




This was discovered in the archives, cleaned up slightly for publication, and re-purposed for modern blogging.

Shot taken on June 22, 2009.

Fiberglass Cow




Turkey Hill Experience, Columbia, Pennsylvania, circa summer, 2015.

Annapolis




"Annapolis" was taken June 30, 2009. This particular shot happened entirely by accident in the marina and was not staged. The two people in the background were not aware of this shot even though they are perfectly positioned to make the photo work. This was just a lucky shot with my old Canon digital camera and has gone completely undiscovered for over seven years.

This photo is "busy" in the sense that the composition seems to be confused. The angles and lines of the boat in the foreground and the positioning of the people in the background makes it look cinematic for a moment, but it really isn't. I think the blue hull of the boat in the upper right hand corner really makes it all come together.

I had gone to Annapolis to see The Church play at Ram's Head Tavern and it was a tough tour for the band. They were supporting Untitled #23 and were going around in two small vans. The show opener, Adam Franklin, was powerful and it was a momentous thing to see him and his band play.

But The Church, still with Marty Willson-Piper at that time, levitated the building. Decades of experience has given them a confident live presence that defies explanation. They filled that room and they played an enormously important set, curated down to the moment and designed to allow them to walk off leaving no one untouched. To hear selections from The Blurred Crusade era was a marvelous experience. The show was heavy on selections from the beginning and end of their catalog.

This photo reminded me of that night, and I didn't even know it existed until a little while ago.

Abstract Bird

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1800.0"] Abstract Bird 0001 Abstract Bird 0001 [/caption]


This is the original, almost completely untouched version of the abstract bird painting that I did earlier this month. It has sat on the desktop, neglected and waiting for the right moment to appear. Why not on the first day of August?

Here are two more versions of the same painting.



[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1800.0"] Abstract Bird 0002 Abstract Bird 0002 [/caption]