January 20, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.


On Tuesday March 23 at 7 in the SVA Amphitheater we’ll have a unique panel of high-achieving SVA grads who have gone on to do innovative things in our field. As a teacher I’m always looking for the new directions for narrative art to move in.  Of course the young artists will show us the way.  So here are three. In addition, we’ve compiled a star-studded list of boldface names from the biz whose breakout work we’ll be showing:

Lou Beach, Alan Witschonke, Bob Staake, Chris Buzelli, Chris Spollen, Felix Sockwell, Frances Jetter, JD King, Joseph Daniel Fiedler, Leo Espinosa, Marc Burckhardt, Marcos Chin, Mark Fisher, Mark Ulichsen, Michael Moran, Michael Sloan,  Nancy Stahl, Nate Williams, Patrick Dorian, Peter Kuper, Richard Borge, Richard Downs, Lou Brooks, Fernanda Cohen, Walter Vasconcelos, Inga Poslitur, Joe Ciardiello, Marcellus Hall, Jorge Colombo, Jeff Moores, John Hendrix, Paul Hoppe among others.

Many of these great artists will be on hand to discuss their work. Plus an intro by (possibly) the World’s Greatest Artist. Looks to me like we’re in serious danger of being off to a great start on the road to NEXT. Please come, admission is free.

World of the Future

In advance of tomorrow’s health care summit here’s an update on the world of tomorrow.

With gratitude to PS Mueller, Oracle.

The Astounding World of the Future, Written and Directed by Scott Dikkers

The Vanguard is 75 Today

Here’s to the Village Vanguard: the temple of Jazz. Not a museum but a living, breathing space for amazing miracles of music. And most of the greats have played there.  Here’s my take on the club, going down recently to catch the JD Allen Trio. That’s Gregg August on bass and the otherworldly Tyshawn Sorey on drums. I took photos and did sketches though it was too dark for either. For once I relied mostly on the sketchbook.  In the final, the right wall has Coltrane, Monk and Miles, and not the famous tuba that Max Gordon and his daughter Deborah bought at an auction long ago. A David Remnick edit.  My thanks to him for loving jazz and going with this project for this week’s New Yorker and Lorraine Gordon, still takin’ no prisoners at 87. Coltrane’s “Impressions” included here; from a famous album recorded, guess where. Another 175, VV.

It’s the Orwell-a-thon!

Moments in the never ending carnival of crazy with names funny enough to make anyone, especially George Orwell, shake, rattle and roll.

1. The Simon Weisenthal TOLERANCE MUSEUM is being built on a 400 year-old Palestinian gravesite.

From the Times of London:

“What the UN can do is limited but they can investigate and raise awareness,” said Diana Buttu, a lawyer involved with the petition. “We have exhausted all our other legal means.”

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Weisenthal Centre, has defended the decision to build the museum, stating that the complex will promote coexistence. “All citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews, are the real beneficiaries of the site,” he said.

2. The Chinese Tiger Farm

As tigers vanish in the wild, they have a home getting a more civilized slaughter. In Giulin, China there is a farm that raises them for their parts, which sell well on the world market.

From the NYT:

“If there is any mystery about what happens to the big cats at Xiongsen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village in Guilin, it is partly explained in the gift shop, where fuzz-coated bottles in the shape of a tiger are filled with “bone strengthening” wine. The liquor, which costs $132 for a six-year-old brew, is sold openly across the surrounding Guangxi region and beyond.”

Best: a large sign in the building’s interior declares “Protecting Wild Animals is the Bounden Duty of Every Citizen.”

3. Dumpster Grannys

After months of group fantasy about Death Panels for Granny, the GOP has revealed what it would do with the Medicare and SS if they had the chance: end them.  Granny, then, narrowly escapes death.  At least a fast one.

4. Torture anyone?

Last week’s Meet the Press had Dick Cheney finally admit that he was pro-waterboarding. Was I the only one who heard this? And of course, “we don’t believe  in torture”.  And neither did Yoo and Bybee.  Everybody spin!

My Little Congress

Given the new Supreme Court ruling on corporate freedom to now go as wild as they like  in political campaign spending a new report shows that this past year it was getting much worse . . .  all by itself. Can it be any clearer the reasons the government has stopped working, it seems, altogether:

“The Center for Responsive Politics puts the total at nearly $3.5 billion, a five percent increase over 2008. The pharmaceutical and health products industry spent nearly $267 million on lobbying, the greatest amount ever spent on lobbying efforts by a single industry. The Chamber of Commerce spent over $144 million dollars on lobbying, a 60 percent increase over 2008. Other big spenders on lobbying included Exxon Mobil, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or Pharma, General Electric, Pfizer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, AARP, American Medical Association, Chevron, the National Association of Realtors, and the American Beverage Association. Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics said, “Lobbying appears recession proof. Even when companies are scaling back other operations, many view lobbying as a critical tool in protecting their future interests.”

Art for The Nation