Monday, October 15, 2007

1st\NW Quadrant 10/22 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of October 22, 2007

Metrocard Design Demise

Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the fare hike, the MTA is starting to make preparations that will lead to the phasing out of the MetroCard, a 13-year-old subway icon. Gone will be the familiar gold-and-blue flimsy plastic cards. In its stead, we’ll have touch-and-go SmartCard RFID technology that should speed up lines and make paying for public transportation rides even easier.

The MTA’s smart-card pilot program on the Lexington Line, developed with Citibank and MasterCard, will soon be expanded to 275 buses and opened up to all contactless credit and debit cards issued by banks. (Second Avenue Sagas)

Municipal Wedding Office

Zach Patton of the blog Governing reported that NYC is revamping its Marriage Bureau to attract more wedding-minded couples to get hitched in New York. The bureau is getting a $13 million makeover from Mayor Mike Bloomberg's personal interior designer.

The Marriage Bureau, now on the second floor of the Municipal Building, has sterile marble, and the door to the wedding chapel is painted deep red. Couples sit on plastic chairs lining the walls in the hallway until their names are called; there is graffiti scratched into the walls; and, worst of all, there are no bathrooms nearby....

New York is the country's second-biggest issuer of marriage licenses. Vegas' Clark County issued more than 112,000 marriage licenses last year -- almost double the number in NYC.

"In the Valley of Elah"

Plot Outline: A career officer (Jones) and his wife (Sarandon) work with a police detective (Theron) to uncover the truth behind their son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq. (IMDb)

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly related that, "In the Valley of Elah, the first film Paul Haggis has written and directed since Crash, is exactly the sort of movie America needs right now — a lacerating, bone-deep inquiry into the war in Iraq, one that struggles to find meaning in the very chaos of that conflict." (EW)

In the Valley of Elah Trailer

Tate Modern

A crack in the floor which forms Tate Modern's [Britain's national museum of international modern art] latest installation has claimed its first casualties. Three visitors lost their footing and fell into the gap made by Doris Salcedo's art work. They were among more than 12,000 people who viewed the installation, which runs the full 167 metres (548 feet) of the Turbine Hall. The Tate said the trio did not sustain serious injuries. (Andy Bosselman)

The work by Colombian sculptor Doris Salcedo, entitled Shibboleth, runs the full 167 metres (548 feet) of the cavernous [Turbine Hall at London's Tate Modern]. It begins as a hairline crack in the concrete floor of the building, then widens and deepens as it snakes across the room. (Times Online)
(Photo courtesy of Andy Bosselman)

Junot Díaz

His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker magazine which listed him as one of the 20 top writers for the 21st century. He is best known for his two major works: the short story collection "Drown" (1996) and the novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (2007). (Wikipedia)

"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" has made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list (a first for a Dominican author), Miramax Films bought the screen rights and a translation into Spanish is already in the works.

The novel revolves about Oscar, an obese comics fan growing up in Paterson, N.J., and his dysfunctional Dominican family, going back to the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship.
(SPLALit\Carlos Rodríguez Martorell)

The Argenteuil Bridge

by Claude Monet

Intruders broke into the Musée d’Orsay, which houses a major collection of Impressionist art, early Sunday [October 7, 2007] and left a tear close to four inches long in the painting “The Argenteuil Bridge,” from 1874 by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet.

The intruders, believed to be four men and a woman, appeared drunk and “left various bits of filth” before “one of them stuck a fist into the magnificent masterpiece by Monet.”

The alarms sounded and museum personnel arrived quickly, but the intruders were able to flee; however, the painting can be restored according to Christine Albanel, the minister of culture.

There have been similar attacks in other museums in France. Plates and chalices for communion, from the Cathedral of St. Jean the Baptist were recently stolen, and a woman left a lip-shaped stain on an otherwise immaculate white canvas that is an untitled work by the American artist Cy Twombly. (NY Times)

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