Monday, December 31, 2007

2nd\NE Quadrant 01\07 '08

The Approval Matrix: Week of January 7, 2008

Blood Oranges

The blood orange is a variety of orange (Citrus sinensis) with crimson, blood-colored flesh. The fruit is smaller than an average orange; its skin is usually pitted, but can be smooth. The juice is sweet but somewhat bitter and less acidic than regular table oranges. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanin, a pigment common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. Sometimes there is dark coloring on the exterior of the rind as well, depending on the variety of blood orange. The degree of coloration depends on to light, temperature and variety. (Wikipedia)

U.S. Seasons:
  • Texas Crop - December to March
  • California Crop - November to May (GourmetSleuth)


Clementine's are the tiniest of the mandarins. Imported from Spain, Morocco, and other parts of North Africa, clementines are a cross between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin. They are small, very sweet, and usually seedless. Most people think of clementines as small tangerines, but they're a different variety entirely, with a distinctive taste. The Clementine is an excellent eating orange. Its small size and lack of seeds make it particularly popular with kids. Clementines have been available in Europe for many years, but the market for them in the United States was made only a few years ago, when a devastating freeze in Florida made domestic oranges scarce and expensive. A lot of oranges, including clementines, were imported from Europe, and clementines started to catch on. Over the past few years they've become increasingly popular, and as the demand has gone up, so has the price.

Season: Late October to February (Produce Pete)

Ian McShane in "The Homecoming"

Ian McShane is known to TV audiences for his portrayal of profanity-spewing villain Al Swearingen in HBO's TV series 'Deadwood'. "The Homecoming" marks the 40th anniversary for both Pinter's play and Ian McShane. McShane has only appeared once on Broadway, and that was almost 40 years ago when he played Marat in a production of 'The Promise' by Aleksei Arbuzov. (NY Theatre Guide)
Ian McShane, famously antiheroic as the saloon owner in HBO's "Deadwood," has more dashing, crumbling good looks than are usually seen in Max, the once-powerful lowlife patriarch. Thus, along with the scary cane and even-more fearsome mouth, the actor with the deep sooty voice makes us believe Max's boasts about his former charisma."

THE HOMECOMING. By Harold Pinter, directed by Daniel Sullivan. Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St., through April 13. Tickets: $26.50-98.50. Call 212-239-6200.

Chip Kidd "The Learners
" Cover

"the red part there is the dust jacket. The black and white illustration is actually the cover itself. And the circle of 'The Book After The Cheese Monkeys' corresponds with the rest of the illustration. It's really quite elegant." (The Book Design Review)

While Chip Kidd may be best known for his book covers — his designs have graced titles by David Sedaris, Michael Crichton and hundreds of other authors — occasionally he likes to work between them.

The Learners serves as a sequel of sorts to Kidd's first novel, 2001's The Cheese Monkeys. Set in the early 1960s, The Learners follows a young graphic designer who decides to answer the first newspaper ad he creates. What follows is "a murder mystery about a killing that may never have taken place," Kidd says.

Not only does Kidd draw on his graphic-design background for the narrative, but he also incorporates it into the text. Typography plays a crucial role in The Learners; font size and design pull readers into the action. (USA Today)

"Cultural Guerrillas"
Repair Panthéon's Clock

It is one of Paris's most celebrated monuments, a neoclassical masterpiece that has cast its shadow across the city for more than two centuries.

For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" [Four members of an underground "cultural guerrilla" movement known as the Untergunther, whose purpose is to restore France's cultural heritage] set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building's famous dome. Under the supervision of group member Jean-Baptiste Viot, a professional clockmaker, they pieced apart and repaired the antique clock that had been left to rust in the building since the 1960s. Only when their clandestine revamp of the elaborate timepiece had been completed did they reveal themselves.

Oscar Peterson
1925 - 2007

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, O.Ont. (15 August 1925 – 23 December 2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, and was therefore a member of jazz royalty. He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest pianists of all time, who played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 65 years. (Wikipedia)

The Elevated Bench

The sculpture was installed by the notorious streetartist Brad Downey on the Lower East Side
on E Houston & Suffolk St. It was removed by the DOT. (Gothamist)
(Pictures courtesy of Yelp)

"There Will Be Blood"

Plot Outline: A story about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century Texas prospector (Daniel Day-Lewis) in the early days of the business. (IMDb)

"The best movie performance so far this century? No contest. There's Daniel Day-Lewis' awe-inspiring turn as a greedy oilman in There Will Be Blood, and there is everyone else."
(Lou Lumenick\New York Post)


1st\NW Quadrant 01\07 '08

The Approval Matrix: Week of January 7, 2008

Quality-Film Fatigue

  1. Juno
  2. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  3. Persepolis
  4. Charlie Wilson's War
  5. I couldn't determine the last one. Please post in the comments if you know the answer.

Happy New Year via Text Message

Rather than conveying [Happy Chinese New Year] greetings via telephone as she had done in the past, Zhang Lan, used her cell phone to send more than 20 text messages to her relatives and friends, and Zhang Tao received more than 30 New Year's greetings in the form of text messages, and sent about 50 himself. (China)

In the UK, people went text messaging crazy and sent 77.5 million text messages on New Year's Day - far surpassing any previous record for text messaging. (Tech Dirt)

[And] Americans who want to say Happy New Year to a U.S. soldier can send a text message straight to Times Square. "Operation New Year's Eve" charges cell phone customers 99 cents to send messages to soldiers overseas. Beginning Friday, the messages were being displayed on a video screen from the tallest building in Times Square. (News Day)

Fungus on Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, the largest bound collection of his drawings and writings, has been infiltrated by mold, Italian scholars said Friday [12/21/07]. The extent of damage to the Codex — an assemblage of 1,119 pages of drawings and writings dating from 1478 to 1519 on topics ranging from flying machines to weapons, mathematics to botany — is not yet known, but the mold is not spreading, they said.

But officials appealed for aid in restoring and conserving the Codex, saying it would be highly expensive and that there were no public funds for the project.

The Codex, which consists of 12 leather-bound volumes, is kept in a vault at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana where temperature and humidity are constantly monitored. The mold was first identified in April 2006 by Carmen Bambach, a curator of drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York...(New York Times)

Queens Library Reports
Overdue-Books to Credit Bureaus

Abraham Kleinman, a lawyer from Uniondale, N.Y., represented a Queens man who sued Unique Management Services for reporting his $295 late bill from the Queens Library system to credit bureaus. The man, Rabbi Avrohom Sebrow, won a settlement on a technicality — Unique’s license to operate in New York State had lapsed when it reported him — but Mr. Kleinman is still angry about the tactic that was used against his client.

Mr. Kleinman argued that if library fines are reported, they should also be used to establish a positive credit record. “It should be the good, the bad and the ugly,” Mr. Kleinman said.

“If you can report a library record, it should be balanced and should include all the times that a consumer visited the library and followed the rules.”(New York Times)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Double Issue

Just in case anyone didn't know, last week's issue was a double; so, I'll be back next week.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

4th\SW Quadrant 12\24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 24, 2007

"The Bucket List"

Plot Summary: Corprate billionaire Edward Cole [Jack Nicholson] and working class mechanic Carter Chambers [Morgan Freeman] have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find the joy in life. (IMDb)


Subway Beating

Freelancers Union Ad

Jeremy Shockey’s
New Year’s Eve Party

Manhattan’s hottest, newest nightclub is hosting Jeremy Shockey’s New Year’s Eve Party and we want to surround his guys with the city’s hottest girls. If you think you can dress, dance, and drink the part, then please send one head and one body shot, as well as your name and contact info, to Free entry and open bar all night long to the ladies we select. (Craigslist)

Jeremy Shockey plays tight end for the New York Giants, but had a season ending injury last Sunday.

Michael Imperioli

Emmy Award®-winning actor Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos") starred in the two-hour television event motion picture "Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day," on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9 on the ABC Television Network.

In the film, based on Albom's bestselling book "For One More Day," Imperioli plays Chick Benetto, a broken-down former baseball player who has collapsed into alcoholism and despair. He returns one night to his small hometown with plans to take his life. At the final moment, he is magically granted one more day with his departed mother, Posey Benetto, played by Burstyn, who illuminates the secrets of both their lives and shows him a way to redemption. (ABC)

3rd\SE Quadrant 12\24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 24, 2007

WhopperFreakout Commercial

Allison Janney in "Juno"

Plot Outline: Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman [Ellen Page] makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child. (IMDb)

Allison Brooks Janney [who plays the step-mother in "Juno"] is an Emmy-winning American actress, perhaps best known for her portrayal of C. J. Cregg on the American television series "The West Wing." (Wikipedia)


Mongolian Mouse-Creature

"The Big Doe Rehab"

"The Big Doe Rehab" is the seventh album by American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah. The album features guest appearances from fellow Wu-Tang members Raekwon, Method Man, U-God as well as from Kid Capri, Cappadonna and members of Ghostface's Theodore Unit crew. It also features production from LV & Sean C. from Sean "Diddy" Combs' production team, The Hitmen. A book based on a previous series of Ghostface MTV2 appearances, and entitled "The World According to Pretty Toney" was released on the same day as the album. (Wikipedia)

Rolling Stone says, "The Big Doe Rehab isn't as distinct as last year's Fishscale, but it's close. Ghost's bouncy, more direct approach on cuts like "Walk Around" shows off his ability to turn crack-slinging narratives into big, hooky pleasures. Right now is a good time to be a Wu-Tang fan."

Sacha Baron Cohen's
Jumpsuit in "Sweeney Todd"

Plot Summary from IMDb: Sweeney Todd a.k.a Benjamin Barker [Johnny Depp] returns to London after being sent away by Judge Turpin with the help of a sailor, Anthony Hope. He opens a barber shop above Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Shop were she sells "the worst pies in London." With the help of Mrs. Lovett, Todd tries to rid of all the people who have ever done him wrong and hopes to be reunited with his daughter, Joanna, who is now Judge Turpin's ward.

Adolpho Prirelli [Sacha Baron Cohen] is a popular travelling barber and hair product salesman in "Sweeney Todd". He claims to have created an elixer that regrows hair, but Sweeney, who is attending one of his demonstrations, claims that it is fake. This sparks a strong rivalry between the two characters.


Subway "Stripping"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2nd\NE Quadrant 12\24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 24, 2007

Huckabee Chuck Norris Ads

The Oprah Effect

Ethan Coen's First Play

Filmmaker Ethan Coen has written three short plays called "Almost an Evening" that premier in January in Atlanta. In "Waiting," someone waits somewhere for quite some time. In "Four Benches," a voyage to self-discovery takes a British intelligence agent to steam baths in New York and Texas, and to park benches in the U.S. and U.K. In "Debate," cosmic questions are taken up. Not much is learned.”

The Artistic Director Neil Pepe, describes the plays as “incredibly unique and theatrical, and of course, extraordinarily funny and slightly dark.”

Together with Joel, Ethen penned the “sound-play” "Sawbones," which was given three performances at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2005, and starred John Goodman and Steve Buscemi.

The Coen brothers wrote the screenplay for "No Country for Old Men."(Gothamist)
(Photo courtesy of Gothamist)

"The Farnsworth Invention"

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

Terrence Howard will make his stage debut in Debbie Allen's Broadway revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," the first production led by an all-black cast to be authorized by playwright Tennessee Williams' estate.

Tony-winning trio James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad and "Dreamgirls" actress Anika Noni Rose also star in the latest version of Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning Southern drama, which is set to open March 6 at New York's Broadhurst Theatre.

Howard will play the haunted, alcoholic Brick, a former football player who rebuffs the advances of his wife, Maggie (Rose), and faces a tortured relationship with his domineering father, Big Daddy (Jones). Rashad plays Big Mama. The other two main roles in the dysfunctional family still are being cast.

Preview performances begin February 12. ( Gregg Goldstein\Reuters)

Philip Glass @ Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall presents [Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 8 PM] a concert of music from Philip Glass's legendary 20th-century opera, "Einstein on the Beach," performed live for the first time in 15 years by the Philip Glass Ensemble with chorus and violinist Timothy Fain. Produced for Carnegie Hall by Pomegranate Arts. (Carnegie Hall)

The ensemble, which included musicians who have been with Mr. Glass from the early days as well as newcomers, gave the score a tight, high-energy reading. Having Ms. [Lucinda Childs] on hand to recreate her original narration was a fine touch; Melvin Van Peebles was the male narrator. (NY Times)

Monday, December 17, 2007

1st\NW Quadrant 12\24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 24, 2007

1968 with Tom Brokaw

In 1968, the fury and violence of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago propelled us toward a tipping point in politics. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, America suffered its bloodiest year in Vietnam and drugs seduced us. Yet idealism--and hope--flourished. Explore the significance of that turbulent year and the way it continues to affect the American landscape. Tom Brokaw offers his perspective on the era and shares the rich personal odysseys of some of the people who lived through that chaotic time, along with the stories of younger people now experiencing its aftershocks. Includes archival footage and interviews with former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who was talking to King when he was assassinated and rushed to his side to try to staunch the wound; Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson, who wrestled RFKs' assassin to the ground; and Arlo Guthrie, best known for his song "Alice's Restaurant. (History)


Huckabee on AIDS Patients

The following was posted on the Say Anything blog by Rob - The Associated Press dug back through their archives and found some answers [Mike] Huckabee [The former Arkansas governor who is running for president.] gave to a questionnaire they sent him when he was seeking a seat in the House in 1992. He said some pretty controversial things about the AIDS issue it turns out. Here’s the three key quotes:

“If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.”

“I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.”

“In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified. An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research.”


Plot Summary from IMDb (Warning: May contain spoilers!): 1950. Rural Alabama. Cotton harvest. It's a make-or-break weekend for the Honeydripper Lounge and its owner, piano player Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis. Deep in debt to the liquor man, the chicken man, and the landlord, Tyrone is desperate to lure the young cotton pickers and local Army base recruits into his juke joint, away from Touissants, the rival joint across the way.

After laying off his regular talent, blues singer Bertha Mae, Tyrone announces to his sidekick Maceo that he has hired the famous electric guitar player, Guitar Sam, for a special one night only gig: pack em in and save the club. On the day of the show, the train arrives and Guitar Sam is no where to be found. Tyrone is forced to take drastic action. He makes a deal with Sheriff Pugh to release Sonny, the kid who hopped off a freight car here in Harmony, and turned up in the club claiming he could play the guitar as well as any Guitar Sam.

Tyrone cleans Sonny up and launches a last ditch scheme to pass off the young guitar picker as Guitar Sam just long enough to cut the lights and run off with cash box. When Sonny takes the stage and launches into his first scalding electric licks, Tyrone will learn if its lights out for the Honeydripper or if his luck has changed: he might just be another man saved by rock n' roll.

Honeydripper features an all-star cast including Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Stacy Keach, Mary Steenburgen,Yaya DaCosta and Sean Patrick Thomas; as well as such notable musicians as Keb Mo and Dr. Mable John. It also introduces a major new talent, Gary Clark Jr. who makes his electrifying film debut as Sonny.


Manolo's for Men

This week [December 7, 2007], Manolo Blahnik, the Spanish designer famous for making women swoon over $700 stilettos, announced he's putting out a line of men's shoes. Among the styles: Afiyet, the aforementioned blue suede number, and Bir, a sandal made of leopard-print leather. "There are some simple sandals in beautiful materials, and a few classics -- with a twist," Blahnik said in a statement. "I thought it was time to bring back some color into the male wardrobe." suede slingbacks and leopard print sandals are about as likely to catch on as men's eyeliner and the murse (aka, men's purse).

"I wouldn't wear them. I can't imagine guys wearing them," said Tyler Thoreson, executive editor of "They're of limited appeal, I think. He's a master cobbler, and so you probably won't find a better made pair of shoes anywhere, but the style isn't going to be for everyone." (ABC News)

Nappers at Gustavo Dudamel
Philharmonic Debut

It's not unusual for members of a New York audience to leave early, but they stood their ground at Lincoln Center. And stood and stood. The audience gave 26-year-old conductor Gustavo Dudamel a standing ovation for five minutes Thursday [November 29, 2007] night after the dimple-faced whiz kid with a radiant smile and an emphatic baton finished his New York Philharmonic debut. (SFGate)

But according to the Approval Matrix some of the audience members took a nap during the debut.

The son of a salsa player and a music teacher from the Venezuelan city Barquisimeto, Dudamel shot to the top of the classical world last spring when he was named music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, effective September 2009. (SFGate)

Daniel J. Wakin of The New York Times related that Gustavo Dudamel is classical music’s hottest young podium property.

Squash = Ive League Admissions?

In an era of increasingly competitive college admissions — when Princeton, for example, turns down four of five valedictorians who apply — anxious parents are looking for some edge, any edge, to help their child gain entry through the back door of the nation’s most selective universities.

Squash pros and coaches say that in the last few years the sport has seen a sharp increase in participation by children and teenagers, some of whose parents seem to have one eye on the ball and the other on college applications.

ONE New York parent of a squash-playing daughter pointed out that college squash scholarships were still rare, vacancies few — often no more than a few freshmen on a squad — and players from squash hothouses like the Middle East and South Asia tended to fill many of those. (NY Times)
(Photo courtesy of Cheryl Senter for The New York Times)


Joe Wright, the BAFTA Award-winning director of "Pride & Prejudice," has reunited with his film making team and his Academy Award-nominated actress, Keira Knightley, for another classic British romance, starring James McAvoy (BAFTA Award nominee for "The Last King of Scotland") opposite Ms. Knightley. Christopher Hampton (Academy Award winner for "Dangerous Liaisons") has written the screenplay adaptation of Ian McEwan's best-selling 2002 novel Atonement.

Shot on location in the U.K., the film's story spans several decades. In 1935, 13-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) and her family live a life of wealth and privilege in their enormous mansion. On the warmest day of the year, the country estate takes on an unsettling hothouse atmosphere, stoking Briony's vivid imagination. Robbie Turner (Mr. McAvoy), the educated son of the family's housekeeper, carries a torch for Briony's headstrong older sister Cecilia (Ms. Knightley). Cecilia, he hopes, has comparable feelings; all it will take is one spark for this relationship to combust. When it does, Briony -- who has a crush on Robbie -- is compelled to interfere, going so far as accusing Robbie of a crime he did not commit. Cecilia and Robbie declare their love for each other, but he is arrested -- and with Briony bearing false witness, the course of three lives is changed forever. Briony continues to seek forgiveness for her childhood misdeed. Through a terrible and courageous act of imagination, she finds the path to her uncertain atonement, and to an understanding of the power of enduring love. (Written by Orange\via IMDb)


Saturday, December 15, 2007

3rd\SE Quadrant The Year-End Mega Matrix

Rambo Punching Man's Head Off
Warning: Very violent!)

Apatovian Comedy Factory

Jessica posted on Jessica Rules the Universe, "I declared the Apatovian series consisting of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad The Godfather trilogy of our time, only instead of whacking each other the guys just whack off."

According to David Denby of The New Yorker, Apatovian is "a mixture of desperately filthy talk and the most tender, even delicate, emotion."

"Icky Thump"

"Icky Thump" is a song recorded by The White Stripes. Written by band member Jack White, it is the first single released from the White Stripes' sixth album of the same name. The name of the track comes from the Northern England exclamation "Ecky Thump," roughly meaning "what the heck?" The title was then changed to "Icky" so that "teenagers would understand it better back in America," in the same way Led Zeppelin took out the "a" so kids wouldn't call them 'Lead Zeppelin' (pronounced 'leed')" (Wikipedia)

"The Landlord"

David O. Russell Meltdown

David Owen Russell (born 20 August 1958 in New York) is an American film director and screenwriter. He directed and wrote "Three Kings" and the existential comedy "I ♥ Huckabees." Earlier films include independent films "Flirting with Disaster" and "Spanking the Monkey." (Wikipedia)

Jim and Pam Together

Suzanne McDonough wrote on Prime Time Sitcoms, "Interest in the US TV show "The Office" has grown as a result of its characters' Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski) inability to get together. At the end of the third season, the long, angsty love story between Pam and Jim seems to have all of the stars aligned for the two to finally end up together. At the very least they are actually going to go on a date. Will viewing audiences tune in if they manage to get together? But will this kill the hit show?"


Prince's Super Bowl Halftime Show

Bacon-Flavored Chocolate Bar

Applewood smoked bacon + Alder smoked salt + deep milk chocolate Deep milk chocolate coats your mouth and leads to the crunch of smoked bacon pieces. Surprise your mouth with the smoked salt and sweet milk chocolate.

Crisp, buttery, compulsively irresistible bacon and milk chocolate combination has long been a favorite of mine. I started playing with this combination at the tender age of six while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of fried bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. Just a bite of the bacon was too salty and yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate syrup. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point, for on that plate something magical happened: the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it--chocolate. --Katrina (Vosges Chocolate)

Chopin's "Raindrops" in Halo 3 Ad

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's taking a year?!

It's taking me a year to complete The Year-End Mega Matrix! It looks like I won't be done until the weekend, so come back over the weekend for the complete 3rd and 4th quadrants.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2nd\NE Quadrant The Year-End Mega Matrix

The Year-End Mega Matrix

Venice Biennale, documenta, and Skulptur.Projekte

View of "Pump Room", a work by the Hungarian artist Balázs Kicsiny
at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

The Venice Biennale (Italian: Biennale di Venezia) is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years (in odd years) in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it, as is the Venice Architecture Biennale, which is held in even years. A dance section, the "International Festival of Contemporary Dance", was established in 1999. (Wikipedia)

from documenta 6

documenta is seen as the world‘s most important exhibition of modern and contemporary art which now takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. It was founded by artist, teacher and curator Arnold Bode in 1955 as part of the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticultural Show) which took place in Kassel at that time. This first documenta was - in contrast to most expectations - a considerable success as it featured most of the artists who are generally considered to have had a significant influence on modern art, e.g. Picasso or Kandinsky. The more recent documentas feature art from all continents; nonetheless most of it is site-specific. (Wikipedia)

Skulptur Blickst du hinauf und liest die Worte von Ilya Kabakow (1997)

The Skulptur.Projekte is an international sculpture exhibition in Münster, Westphalia, which since 1977 has taken place every ten years, each parallel to the Documenta in Kassel. The artists are invited to Münster, in a self-selected location within the city to create a sculpture. Many of the works are in accordance with the 100-day exhibition period from the city, have been bought by companies or have become a permanent part of the city image.
(Wikipedia\Google Translation)

Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon (born May 24, 1963) is an American author and "one of the most celebrated writers of his generation." His first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), was published when Chabon was 25 and catapulted him to the status of literary celebrity. He followed it with a second novel, Wonder Boys (1995), and two short-story collections. In 2000, Chabon published The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a critically acclaimed novel that The New York Review of Books called his magnum opus; it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001.

His latest novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, was published in 2007 to enthusiastic reviews. His work is characterized by complex language, frequent use of metaphor, and an extensive vocabulary, along with numerous recurring themes, including nostalgia, divorce, abandonment, fatherhood, and issues of Jewish identity. He often includes gay, bisexual, and Jewish characters in his work. Since the late 1990s, Chabon has written in an increasingly diverse series of styles for varied outlets; he is a notable defender of the merits of genre fiction and plot-driven fiction, and, along with novels, he has published screenplays, children's books, comics, and newspaper serials. (Wikipedia)

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" is an alternate history detective story based on the premise that after World War II, a temporary Yiddish-speaking settlement for Jewish refugees was established in Alaska in 1941. It also incorporates the (fictional) destruction of the State of Israel in 1948 after an unsuccessful struggle for independence. It takes place in a fictionalized version of the real city of Sitka. (Wikipedia)

Cute Polar Bear

Knut was born on Dec. 5, 2006, the first polar bear cub to be born in Berlin Zoo in 30 years, but was rejected by his mother, the 20-year-old polar bear Tosca. His twin brother died four days after the birth. Little Knut spent the first 44 days of his life in an incubator. The dedicated Dörflein has slept in the zoo since the birth of the bear in order to provide round-the-clock care to the cub, and feeds Knut milk six times a day with a bottle. (Spiegel Online)


"Frost/Nixon" is a play by the British screenwriter and dramatist Peter Morgan. Its subject is the series of televised interviews that Richard Nixon granted David Frost in 1977 and that ended with a tacit admission of guilt regarding his role in the Watergate scandal. The play premiered at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London in August 2006.

On March 31st, 2007, the play went into previews on Broadway. It officially opened as a limited engagement at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on April 22, 2007 and closed on August 19, 2007, after 137 performances. The original Broadway cast included: Frank Langella (Richard Nixon), [and] Michael Sheen (David Frost)...(Wikipedia)
(Photo courtesy of Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

"Planet Earth" on Discovery Channel

Planet Earth
is an Emmy award winning BBC nature documentary series narrated by David Attenborough and produced by Alastair Fothergill. It was first transmitted in the UK from 5 March 2006. The American version is narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

The series was co-produced with Discovery Channel and the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) in association with the CBC, and was described by its makers as "the definitive look at the diversity of our planet". It was also the first of its kind to be filmed almost entirely in high-definition format.[1] The series was nominated for the Pioneer Audience Award for Best Programme at the 2007 BAFTA TV awards. (Wikipedia)


Bobby Cannavale in "Mauritius"

Bobby Cannavale (Dennis) made his Broadway debut in "Mauritius" at the Manhattan Theatre Club. The performances ended on 11/25/07.

Plot Summary: Jackie and Mary are half-sisters whose mother's death leaves them in possession of a rare stamp collection. But which sister actually owns the stamps? Which of three dealers can be trusted with their sale? And where do we choose to live: the present or the past? Tightly woven and ever-surprising, this sinister tale marks Ms. Rebeck's first collaboration with MTC, as well as her Broadway debut.

Roberto Cannavale (born May 3, 1971, Union City, New Jersey) is an Emmy Award-winning American actor. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor - Comedy Series in 2005 for "Will & Grace." One of his most famous roles was as a paramedic on the hit show, "Third Watch."

The Wimbledon Final

Roger Federer def. Rafael Nadal 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2

Roger Federer won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, equalling the modern-era record set by Björn Borg, after a five-set battle that took close to four hours against Rafael Nadal, 3 sets to 2. Federer’s supremacy on grass met a strong challenge from Nadal and the victory did not come easily for the Swiss. But Federer came through by winning the tiebreak in the first and third sets, and faced four break points before victory in the final set. It was the first time that Federer has been pushed to five sets in the final of a Grand Slam. (Wikipedia)

The last 9 minutes of the final.

"Rescue Dawn"

Rescue Dawn
is a 2007 movie starring Christian Bale and Steve Zahn. It is written and directed by Werner Herzog, based on the director's acclaimed 1997 documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly. NBA all-star Elton Brand is the film's producer through his production company Gibraltar Entertainment, which he co-owns with partner Steve Marlton.

The film is based on the true story of German-born Dieter Dengler, who dreamed of being a pilot and eventually made his way to the United States, where he joined the Navy during the Vietnam War era. He became a pilot and was shot down over Laos and captured. Eventually he organized an escape with a small band of captives. (Wikipedia)


"No Country for Old Men"

Plot Outline: Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande. (IMDB)

Rex Reed writes in his review of the film for the Observer, "In a terrifying performance of hypnotic power, Bardem totes around an air gun for slaughtering cattle, which he uses with ingenuous lust; it’s a strange apparatus that looks like an oxygen tank, with a device on the head of the hose that glows key holes out of door locks and foreheads."

"Losing their customary cool, some critics are labeling No Country for Old Men, a modern western with pokey pacing and blood-curdling violence, a masterpiece. Until the five-minute finale that threatens to destroy the whole thing, I found myself dazed, dazzled and overwhelmed. The ending is so lame it made me feverish. Then I remembered the perfection that came before it, and concluded that this is, without question, the best movie ever made by the eccentric Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Better even than Fargo. It’s so good that I am powerless to hold a grudge. Yes, I guess I have to admit it’s a masterpiece."


Sir Ian McKellen's Junk

Logan Hill wrote on NY Mag: Ian McKellen is proud of his junk and sensitive to those who might criticize it. A few years ago, during an interview about another McKellen project, he asked us about his "old friend" John Simon, our former, exacting theater critic. Like many actors, he was still nursing a grudge regarding a negative review. In this case, though, he claims the negative review was of his junk. For what it's worth, a long search through the magazine's archives — and John Simon's collected theater reviews — failed to bring up much more than a reference to McKellen's performance in 1984's Wild Honey: "McKellen mugs, struts, fidgets, prances, erupts, and shrivels expertly" (emphasis ours). Surely this can't be what McKellen was so upset about, can it?

In his Bloomberg News review of King Lear, Simon gives McKellen a B+ for his performance ("better than I expected but less than I would wish for") but takes another jab at McKellen's manhood, so to speak:

As for Lear (and this, surely, is more McKellen than Nunn), although he is supposed to be "every inch a king,'' he gives us several inches of frontal nudity that neither Shakespeare nor we bargained for, though they may work as a form of self-advertisement.

"Then We Came to the End"

In this wildly funny debut from former ad man Ferris, a group of copywriters and designers at a Chicago ad agency face layoffs at the end of the '90s boom. Indignation rises over the rightful owner of a particularly coveted chair ("We felt deceived"). Gonzo e-mailer Tom Mota quotes Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the midst of his tirades, desperately trying to retain a shred of integrity at a job that requires a ruthless attention to what will make people buy things. Jealousy toward the aloof and "inscrutable" middle manager Joe Pope spins out of control. Copywriter Chris Yop secretly returns to the office after he's laid off to prove his worth. Rumors that supervisor Lynn Mason has breast cancer inspire blood lust, remorse, compassion. Ferris has the downward-spiraling office down cold, and his use of the narrative "we" brilliantly conveys the collective fear, pettiness, idiocy and also humanity of high-level office drones as anxiety rises to a fever pitch. Only once does Ferris shift from the first person plural (for an extended fugue on Lynn's realization that she may be ill), and the perspective feels natural throughout. At once delightfully freakish and entirely credible, Ferris's cast makes a real impression. (Publisher's Weekly)

Jim Shepard said, "Then We Came to the End is the Catch-22 of the business world: it's a hilarious and heartbreaking and surreal portrait of the modern American corporation as a carnival - preschool? - of infantile misbehavior and breathtakingly futile and petty and despairing competiton. The real revelation here is how moving it all becomes: how much humanity and genuine emotional weight finally, against all odds, shines through." (Powells)

The Subway Superman

Kristin Chenoweth

A most untraditional sound came out of the speakers of The Metropolitan Opera Friday [January 19, 2007] night. Just as music director/conductor Andrew Lippa lifted his arms to cue the 11-piece orchestra to begin the evening's program he was interrupted by the rhythmic chords of an organ playing the type of energizing vamp more typical for a ballpark than an opera house. After a hearty "da-da-da-dat-da-da? charge!" the evening's soloist [Kristin Chenoweth] dashed out wearing a New York Mets jersey and cap, gleefully waving a pennant and asking if anyone knows where the hot dog stand is. (All About Opera)

“The Lives of Others”

Plot summary for “The Lives of Others” from IMDb: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's movie debut focuses on the horrifying, sometimes unintentionally funny system of observation in the former East Germany. In the early 1980s, the successful dramatist Georg Dreyman and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland, a popular actress, are big intellectual stars in the socialist state, although they secretly don't always think loyal to the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more...

Dana Stevens of Slate says, “The Lives of Others is the best surveillance movie since The Conversation.”

“The Lives of Others” won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was a prolific and genre-bending American novelist known for works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Cat's Cradle (1963), and Breakfast of Champions (1973). (Wikipedia)

The Times reports that, "Mr. Vonnegut wrote plays, essays and short fiction. But it was his novels that became classics of the American counterculture, making him a literary idol, particularly to students in the 1960s and ’70s. Dog-eared paperback copies of his books could be found in the back pockets of blue jeans and in dorm rooms on campuses throughout the United States."

David Michalek’s
“Slow Dancing”

Coolhunting has a post on David Michalek’s “Slow Dancing,” which was an outdoor installation on 40-foot screens that featured 43 dancers. The dancers performed a variety of genres that included ballet, break dancing, and Balinese dance among others. The dancers were asked to prepare three five-second phrases, were shot at 1000 frames per second and, “When played back in real time, the five-second movements equal about eight minutes, allowing the viewer to see every minute detail and move.” The show ran nightly from
9:00 PM - 1:00 AM, and ended on July 29, 2007.

Apple’s profile of Michalek mentions that he learned filmmaking at NYU, had an apprenticeship with fashion legend Herb Ritts, and his pictures have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

The full Times review can be read here, and includes a multimedia slide show.

Below is a link to a Times video of the installation.

In Slow Motion

Youtube (low quality) Video of "Slow Dancing"

Junot Diaz

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. (BTAM)

Monday, December 10, 2007

1st\NW Quadrant The Year-End Mega Matrix

The Year-End Mega Matrix

Rich Little @ White House Dinner

President Bush, deferring to the tragedy at Virginia Tech, passed up any attempt to be funny at the White House Correspondents Association dinner Saturday, leaving those efforts to impersonator Rich Little.

Returning to the podium at the annual dinner after 23 years, Little made good on his promise to be gentle.

Little's material was safe if occasionally a little raunchy. He dusted off his impersonations of six presidents, from Nixon to the current occupant of the White House, and avoided any reference to current political issues.

After one joke bombed, he said, "And you thought (Stephen) Colbert was bad."

Best known for his impersonations of Richard Nixon and Johnny Carson, Rich was the featured act for the glitzy dinner with Bush, Cabinet secretaries, foreign dignitaries, Hollywood celebrities and members of the press. (Fox News)

Rich Little @ White House Dinner

"The Splasher"

...someone has been splashing paint over major streetart works all over the city. The "Splasher", as he's come to be known, has a taste for targeting major pieces by Swoon, Obey, Momo, and others. His trail of paint-dripped terror extends from Williamsburg, to Soho, and back again-- and he's already obliterated dozens of pieces.

Often, in the wake of his attacks, the Splasher also leaves wheat-pasted screeds, attacking the streetartists as tools of capital, calling their work a "fetishized action of banality" and "a representation of the most vulgar kind: an alienated commodity." (Gothamist)

"Margot at the Wedding"

Plot Summary: Margot [Nicole Kidman] and her son Claude decide to visit her sister Pauline after she announces that she is getting married to less-than-impressive Malcolm [Jack Black]. In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets. (IMBb)

Ethan Alter of the Film Journal International wrote in his review, "Baumbach [directory] has pulled off the rather dubious accomplishment of making an incisive, involving film about a thoroughly detestable group of people."

Trailer for "Margot at the Wedding"

New York Airports

It’s not your imagination: Flying into or out of New York is the worst it’s ever been. In fact, our airports are the worst in the country. According to the FAA, Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark hold the three bottom spots in the national on-time arrival competition. Newark has the most delayed landings, with only 57 percent of flights coming in on time. La Guardia is second to last, with 58 percent, and JFK is third worst, with 59 percent. Leaving is no picnic, either. JFK boasts the most sluggish takeoffs of the nation’s 32 major airports: Barely three out of five departing flights leave the so-called Gateway to the World on time. (Newark and La Guardia don’t fare much better on that front, ranking No. 30 and No. 25, respectively.) All in all, over one third of the nation’s delays happen in the New York metro area. The Port Authority estimates that our airports’ inefficiency will cost us $200 million this year in passengers’ lost time alone. (NY Mag\Michael Idov)

"Factory Girl"

Plot Summary: A beautiful, wealthy young party girl drops out of Radcliffe in 1965 and heads to New York to become Holly Golightly. When she meets a hungry young artist named Andy Warhol, he promises to make her the star she always wanted to be. And like a super nova she explodes on the New York scene only to find herself slowly lose grip on reality...
(IMDb\ Written by Richard Galub)

Trailer for "Factory Girl"

Chumley's Closes

The historic Greenwich Village bar Chumley's will remain closed indefinitely. The Buildings Department says engineers are working to stabilize the building after an interior wall collapsed Thursday. The onetime speakeasy dating back to 1922 was a favorite among writers such as John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. (WNYC)

When the collapse occurred, construction workers were inside Chumley's and doing repairs of an unknown type without a permit. Violations for working with out a permit have been issued. Now, a shoring company has been hired to repair the damage, after which time inspectors will assess the integrity of the building. While the work is done Chumley's will be closed. (Eater)
(Photo courtesy of Eater)

Nathan Zuckerman

Philip Roth's newest novel, Exit Ghost, is his ninth and final Nathan Zuckerman book. The series began in 1979 with The Ghost Writer; a compendium, Zuckerman Bound, is now available. Roth won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for American Pastoral; his 28 novels have won him numerous other awards, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Fiction.

... Exit Ghost, is all about the gap between the writer's life experience and his art. It involves the characters who figured in Roth's 1979 novel, Ghost Writer. When Roth began writing about Nathan Zuckerman, the protagonist was 23 years old. The character is now 71. Roth, who is 74, tells Robert Siegel Exit Ghost is the last of the Zuckerman novels. (NPR)

Hamas Mickey Mouse

Pipe Explosion (Wow!)

iPhone Price Drop

Apple slashed the price on the 8GB iPhone to $399, which is $200 less than its introductory price, and is giving a $100 credit to early adopters. Early adopter Paul Forrester said on MacWorld in reference to the rebate, “Giving me $100 credit in the Apple store is kind of a yawn for me. I still have to go spend money in the store—it’s not a true rebate. They aren’t really giving me my money back.”

Philip Michaels also reported on MacWorld that Apple hopes that the price cut will spur sales of the mobile device it introduced in June. “We want to put iPhones in a lot of stockings this holiday season.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. (BTAM)

“Young Frankenstein”

“Young Frankenstein” is one of the biggest deals headed to Broadway so far in 2007-08. Top ticket prices will be $120, with some "premier" and "premium" seats priced at $450 and $375 per ticket. The New York Times reported that the $450 orchestra ticket price will apply to the 100 or so best seats in the house. At the time of the August 7 first preview in Seattle, the Broadway advance was already around $15 million. (BTAM)

Damien Hirst

The Damien Hirst Installation @ Lever House has 30 dead sheep, one dead shark, two sides of beef, 300 sausages, and a pair of doves. The installation will be on view through February 16, 2008 and was commissioned by the real estate developer Aby Rosen, who owns Lever House, the Seagram Building and the Gramercy Park Hotel, and by Alberto Mugrabi, a Manhattan dealer. (BTAM)

Damien Hirst's latest artwork is this life-size platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 fine diamonds. The sculpture, titled "For The Love of God," will likely sell for as much as $100 million, making it the priciest contemporary artwork ever made. White Cube gallery is selling several limited edition silkscreen prints of the work, priced from £900 to £10,000, for one sprinkled with diamond dust. The title of the piece comes from Hirst's mother who asked her son, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?”
(David Pescovitz\BoingBoing)

Luciano Pavarotti

The New York Times reported that Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian singer whose ringing, pristine sound set a standard for operatic tenors of the postwar era, died on Sept. 6, 2007. He was 71. The cause was pancreatic cancer. (BTAM)

And the Huffington Post reported that, "Luciano Pavarotti's assets were far slimmer than anyone predicted. His family had looked set to go to war over a stash estimated at more than £200million following his death last month, aged 71. In fact, the opera legend died owing more than £12million [$25 million], according to Italian reports." (Huffington Post)

Rupert Murdoch

The Times reports that Rupert Murdoch finally bought Dow Jones & Company, publisher of The Wall Street Journal for $5 billion. The purchase makes Mr. Murdoch the owner of a $70 billion media empire that includes, “100 newspapers worldwide, satellite broadcast operations, the Fox television network, the online social networking site MySpace and many other parts.” The Times goes on to say that the purchase makes Mr. Murdoch,” the most formidable figure in business news coverage in this country, perhaps worldwide.”(BTAM)
(Photo courtesy of Time)

"Children of Men" Snubbed

Michael Slezak posted on From the Front Row, "Maybe its harrowing portrait of a dystopian future was more than Academy voters could bear. Maybe its late release date and the truncated Oscar calendar combined to work against it. Either way, the omission of Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men from the list of this year's Best Picture nominees is one that film historians and fans alike will almost certainly look back on with befuddlement. Children of Men is the rarest of films — it's a nail-biting adventure that follows an expectant mother (Claire Hope Ashitey) and her skeptical guardian (Clive Owen) in a race against time; a subtle commentary on global politics; and a gut-wrenching vision of a world without children, without hope. In much the same way the film haunts viewers days, even weeks, after seeing it, we suspect the specter of its snub will haunt the Oscars telecast come Feb. 2" (From the Front Row)