Dog Star / A Creative Arts Guide






Image above: Vik Muniz

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2012.

Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life. Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, painted in 1882, explores the treachery of nineteenth-century Parisian nightlife through the depiction of a bartender attending to a male patron reflected in the mirror behind her. Muniz plays on Manet’s style, replacing Manet’s visible brushstrokes with the frayed edges of torn paper and lending the work immense visual interest.

“Thank you for DogStarNYC, in general. The site speaks to so many kinds of interests; it discerns which qualities will appeal to many different tastes in a tremendous number of activities. I love how it encourages young people to pay attention to the unusual.

In New York we let so many teens walk around the periphery, mildly shell-shocked by life, while the information that they need to make sense of their world sits in the center of the room. DogStarNYC welcomes them into the middle of the room; the blog tells them how to walk there. ” - Stacy L.


DOG STAR is the creation of a high school English teacher in New York City. This blog began in 2008 as an online community for a journalism class and has since evolved into a curated site on the creative arts, arts-related news and a guide to free and low-cost events for teens. Our mission is to offer teens real-life options for enjoying all the creative arts in New York City. May wisdom guide you and hope sustain you. The more you like art, the more art you like!

IMPORTANT NOTICE OF NON COMMERCIAL & EDUCATIONAL CONTENT Unless otherwise stated, we do not own copyrights to any of the visual or audio content that might be included on this blog. Dog Star is for criticism, commentary, reporting and educational purposes under the FAIR USE ACT: Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. If you own the copyright to any images and object to them being included in this blog, please advise and the content will be removed. No attempt is made for material gain from this blog's content.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Have a Personality

I'll say it again for the shallows in the back: 
No amount of working out, body grooming, clothes shopping, fashion labels, muscles or good looks will ever give you a PERSONALITY.
The only genuine way to have "something to offer" is to read a book, see a play, visit an art museum or attend live performances. More than once. Binge watching online shows doesn't count either.
Have a PERSONALITY or you're gonna be boring AF.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hands (A Parable)

A young man went to seek an important position at a large printing company. He passed the initial interview and was going to meet the director for the final interview. The director saw his resume, it was excellent. And asked,'

"Have you received a scholarship for school?" The boy replied, "No".
'It was your father who paid for your studies? '' Yes.' He replied.
'Where does your father work? ' 'My father is a Blacksmith'

The Director asked the young man to show him his hands.
The young man showed a pair of hands soft and perfect.
'Have you ever helped your parents at their job? '
'Never, my parents always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, he can do the job better than me.

The director said:
'I have got a request: When you go home today, go and wash the hands of your father and then come see me tomorrow morning.'

The young man felt his chance to get the job was high.

When he returned to his house he asked his father if he would allow him to wash his hands.

His father felt strange, happy, but with mixed feelings and showed his hands to his son. The young man washed his hands, little by little. It was the first time that he noticed his father's hands were wrinkled and they had so many scars. Some bruises were so painful that his skin shuddered when he touched them.

This was the first time that the young man recognized what it meant for this pair of hands to work every day to be able to pay for his studies. The bruises on the hands were the price that his father payed for his education, his school activities and his future.

After cleaning his father's hands the young man stood in silence and began to tidy and clean up the workshop. That night, father and son talked for a long time.

The next morning, the young man went to the office of the director.
The Director noticed the tears in the eyes of the young man when He asked him,

'Can you tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday at your house?'
The boy replied: 'I washed my father's hands and when I finished I stayed and cleaned his workshop.'

'Now I know what it is to appreciate and recognize that without my parents, I would not be who I am today. By helping my father I now realize how difficult and hard it is to do something on my own. I have come to appreciate the importance and the value in helping my family.

The director said, "This is what I look for in my people. I want to hire someone who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the hardship others go through to accomplish things, and a person who realizes that money is not his only goal in life".

'You are hired'.

A child that has been coddled, protected and given everything he or she wants, develops a mentality of "I have the right" and will always put himself or herself first, ignoring the efforts of parents, family and friends. If we are this type of protective parent are we really showing love or are we helping to destroy our children?

You can give your child their own room in a big house, good food, a computer, tablet, cell phone, and a big screen TV, but when you're washing the floor or painting a wall, children need to experience that too.

After eating, have them wash the dishes with their brothers and sisters, let them fold laundry or cook with you, pull weeds or mow the lawn. You are not doing this because you are poor and can't afford help. You are doing this because you love them and want them to understand certain things about life.

Children need to learn to appreciate the amount of effort it takes to do a job right. They need to experience the difficulties in life that people must overcome to be successful and they must learn about failure to be able to succeed.

Children must also learn how to work and play with others and that they will not always win, but they can always work harder to reach their goals. If they've done their best, then they can take pride in all the effort they put forth.

Life is about giving and serving and these qualities are taught in our homes.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Roman Farmer’s Calendar

Roman Farmer’s calendar. Rome, Museo della Civiltà Romana, inv. M.C.R. n. 3485 Each side bears the names of three months of the year. For each month we can see, starting from the top: the number of days in it; the day on which the Nones (the day of the Moon’s first quarter) falls; the duration of the day and night expressed in hours; the sign of the zodiac; the protecting divinity; work to be attended to in the fields; and the most important festivities.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two Teenagers Charged in Hate Crime Attack Against Muslim Man in the Bronx

Two teenage boys were arrested on Friday and charged with assaulting a Muslim man in the Bronx last week while shouting “Isis! Isis!,” the police said. The boys, 14 and 15, face a variety of charges, including assault as a hate crime, harassment as a hate crime and acting in a manner injurious to a child, the police said. At the time the victim was assaulted, his 9-year-old niece was with him.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three Heads

1. Man Ray: Noire et blanche (1926)
2. Constantin Brancusi: The Sleeping Muse (1910)
3. Suzanne Opton: Soldier Birkholz in Irak (2008)

Monday, February 8, 2016

James Schuyler's FEBRUARY

james schuyler


a chimney, breathing a little smoke.
the sun, i can’t see
making a bit of pink
i can’t quite see in the blue.
the pink of five tulips
at five p.m. on the day before march first.
the green of the tulip stems and leaves
like something i can’t remember,
finding a jack-in-the-pulpit
a long time ago and far away.
why it was december then
and the sun was on the sea
by the temples we’d gone to see.
one green wave moved in the violet sea
like the un building on big evenings,
green and wet
while the sky turns violet.
a few almond trees
had a few flowers, like a few snowflakes
out of the blue looking pink in the light.
a gray hush
in which the boxy trucks roll up second avenue
into the sky. they’re just 
going over the hill.
the green leaves of the tulips on my desk
like grass light on flesh,
and a green-copper steeple
and streaks of cloud beginning to glow.
i can’t get over
how it all works in together
like a woman who just came to her window
and stands there filling it
jogging her baby in her arms.
she’s so far off. is it the light
that makes the baby pink?
i can see the little fists
and the rocking-horse motion of her breasts.
it’s getting grayer and gold and chilly.
two dog-size lions face each other
at the corners of a roof.
it’s the yellow dust inside the tulips.
it’s the shape of a tulip.
it’s the water in the drinking glass the tulips are in.
it’s a day like any other.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Secret of Immigrant Genius

Scan the roster of history’s intellectual and artistic giants, and you quickly notice something remarkable: Many were immigrants or refugees, from Victor Hugo, W.H. Auden and Vladimir Nabokov to Nikolas Tesla, Marie Curie and Sigmund Freud. 

At the top of this pantheon sits the genius’s genius: Einstein. His “miracle year” of 1905, when he published no fewer than four groundbreaking scientific papers, occurred after he had emigrated from Germany to Switzerland. 

 Lost in today’s immigration debate is this unavoidable fact: An awful lot of brilliant minds blossomed in alien soil. That is especially true of the U.S., a nation defined by the creative zeal of the newcomer. 

Today, foreign-born residents account for only 13% of the U.S. population but hold nearly a third of all patents and a quarter of all Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Women of the World Poetry Slam (Coming in March)

The Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWps) is a four day poetry festival, in which 96 of the best women poets in slam will compete against each other in order to crown the Women of the World Poetry Slam champion. In this event, poets compete in preliminary competitions (referred to as “bouts”) over two nights. The poets with the top twelve scores from those days move on to Finals, where one poet is crowned the champion!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

FREE! In two weeks - BROWN RICE FAMILY @ LaGuardia Community College

Neighborhood Concert: Brown Rice Family

LaGuardia Performing Arts Center

Brooklyn-based world roots band Brown Rice Family is a high-energy, eight-member ensemble that combines an eclectic mix of musical influences encompassing reggae, hip-hop, Brazilian, Afrobeat, jazz, rock, Latin, and funk. With members hailing from all over the world, the Brown Rice Family draws on its diverse backgrounds to create a colorful, rhythm-driven, and highly danceable sound. This concert will also feature new works inspired by the song “Somewhere” from West Side Story and written by young people in the Queens community in collaboration with Brown Rice Family as part of The Somewhere Project, a citywide creative learning project that honors Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dog Star Selects Paul Cézanne: Bathers (1890s)

Cézanne painted this imaginary scene many, many times. He was always exploring different placements of the figures, color, shapes, composition and the deeply private enjoyment / entertainment of escaping into this lush, imaginary landscape. 

This one is in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. 

His great ambition was to achieve a complete fusion of the human figure and the landscape. Each element is given the same importance in a sort of common architecture. The artist dos not focus on the flesh, as Renoir did, but rather on the bodies which powerfully structure the space. The theme of water is left aside and the world of the painting remains essentially mineral. Only the smooth, delicately iridescent substance of the clouds recalls Cezanne's attachment to Impressionism.

Friday, January 29, 2016

You Do Not Need

you do not need to leave your room.
remain sitting at your table and listen.
do not even listen, simply wait,
be quiet still and solitary.
the world will freely offer itself
to you to be unmasked, it has no choice,
it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

- Franz Kafka

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Christian Beliefs Under Attack with FUN HOME Choice by Duke

College Students Refuse To Read Award-Winning Novel Because It Violates Their Christian Beliefs 

Some freshmen students at Duke University are protesting the assignment of Fun Home, claiming reading it would violate their Christian beliefs. 

More nonsense (here) from the population in American society who believes, not in Christ, but that the sole definer of their faith is how offended they can by other people's lifestyles. 

Three things to know here: 

1. These students do not go to a Christian college. Duke is a secular, private college. The college has no mission or obligation to only assign materials that will uphold your personally held religious beliefs.

2. They can claim to be offended by being assigned FUN HOME but they cannot claim it violates their Christian beliefs. For that to be true they must be FORCED to believe something - such as homosexuality is not a sin but a natural part of the physical universe - that breaks the rules of their faith. Reading a book is an act of the mind and heart but it does no terrorism to anyone's religious beliefs. Knowledge or insight gained from a book has limited impact and use on any person whose faith is stronger than anything found in the book. So go on and be offended that Duke attempts to be inclusive but you haven't been violated.

3. Finally, the pursuit of an undergraduate education is still intended to open minds to a range of thought; expose students to all kinds of worlds and perspectives all in the safety of the college campus. If they're going to pretend that college made it unsafe to be there (the violation of the Christian beliefs) then they are not only believing a faction but also this campus is not where you belong.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gravity and Center BY HENRI COLE

I’m sorry I cannot say I love you when you say
you love me. The words, like moist fingers,
appear before me full of promise but then run away
to a narrow black room that is always dark,
where they are silent, elegant, like antique gold,
devouring the thing I feel. I want the force
of attraction to crush the force of repulsion
and my inner and outer worlds to pierce
one another, like a horse whipped by a man.
I don’t want words to sever me from reality.
I don’t want to need them. I want nothing
to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,
or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,
or the sound of water poured in a bowl.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

QUOTE (Frida Kahlo)

"I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling."  
-  Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Misogyny (Anti-Women) in Daddy Yankee's "La Nueva y La Ex"

I think this Daddy Yankee video is a bit misogynistic...because I'm on the look out for shit like this - I got to report it.

He's a Don in a Chinese restaurant peering through beaded curtains at two superfine women seated opposite each other.  A waiter comes in and lays a handgun on the table.  Daddy Yankee watches each one pick it up, rub it on her body and place the gun in her mouth.  They also appear to be playing a kind of Russian roulette.  But he has no care for either one of them:

I don't wanna see you again
The one I have now she's loyal to me

Why do you search for me and you call me?
Now you want me on your bed
You'll never look like her
I tell it to you...

No no no no
They aren't alike
For me is that they're rivals
But don't compare them

They also have no control of the situation.  Clearly they have been directed - like beautiful caged birds - to stay in this room and see who survives.  Each presumes she will be rewarded with Daddy's love and companionship.  Both are wrong.  At the end of the video he has a third women waiting for him in an automobile.

The negative MACHISMO stereotypes are off the charts here, too.  He's the DON sitting in a throne (Fu Dogs are cliché and still corny).  Young Latino males definitely learn from the video that YOU ARE THE MAN if females are willing to kill each other for the D.

It's too bad an artist knee deep in the game can't come up with a more respectful way to represent Latinas in his music videos.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

SOMETHING TO DECLARE: La Plena & The Painter

Rafael Tufiño died in 1988 but his legacy lives on.

Rafael Tufiño, Artist, Is Dead at 85

Rafael Tufiño, a painter and printmaker considered one of Puerto Rico’s most prominent cultural figures, died on Thursday in San Juan. He was 85 and lived in Old San Juan.

The cause was lung cancer, said Augusto Font, a friend.

An artist known as the “Painter of the People” for his canvases and posters depicting traditional aspects of life on the island, Mr. Tufiño will lie in state in the Galería Nacional del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña in San Juan before burial later this week. Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, the governor of Puerto Rico, ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over the weekend in his honor.
Mr. Tufiño, who was born in Brooklyn and frequently returned to the city, was an important presence in New York, where he was a mentor to Puerto Rican artists and served as a bridge to Puerto Rico’s traditions and aesthetics.

He was a founder of Taller Boricua, a workshop and art collective started in East Harlem in 1970, and was also influential in the establishment of El Museo del Barrio in that neighborhood. His work was the subject of a major retrospective at the museum in 2003.

Mr. Tufiño’s art, which can be seen on posters throughout Old San Juan, presents scenes of daily life in Puerto Rico — work, dance, music and festivals — in bright, Fauvist colors. His paintings, including landscapes, interiors and portraits, are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress and the Galería Nacional in Puerto Rico.

In 2003, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the National Arts Club in New York City.

Born Rafael Tufiño Figueroa in 1922, he became interested in Puerto Rican traditions as a child in Brooklyn, where he often heard stories of life on the island from his mother and father.

When, at 10, he moved to San Juan to live with his grandmother, his drew pictures of nearly everything he saw.


Thursday, January 21, 2016


“I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.”  - Franz Kafka.

He said “iridescent creature rather than an actual person” - I think this says a lot about his disconnection to the rest of humanity and his own human-ness.

Monday, January 18, 2016


A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles roll
ed into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ancient & Contemporary Female Forms

An ancient Roman sculpture in marble portraying the Goddess of Abundance. (Inspired by the archetype of the Artemis of Ephesus.)

She has numerous breasts and bull’s testicles. The garlands of acorns displayed are the symbols of the March-to-August Zodiacal Sign of Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer. 

Artist Louise Bourgeois in 1978.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hip-Hop Lessons for Start-Ups (Wall Street Journal)

from the Wall Street Journal:

Hip-hop is super-relevant to my business—venture capital and management. In the 1980s, most of the original rappers were entrepreneurs, recording CDs and selling them out of their cars. More important, hip-hop artists make listeners feel their stories—a skill many business managers need.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Claudia Rankine's STOP & FRISK

One of a series of “Situation” videos created by Jamaican-American poet Claudia Rankine in collaboration with her husband, the photographer John Lucas, using texts from her award-winning, genre-bending poetry collection Citizen: An American Lyric (2014). 

This one employs a technique I find very effective in maintaining viewer interest during longer videopoems: interweaving separate stories in the footage and voiceover to create a kind of dialectical tension. What doesn’t happen, or might happen, becomes as important as what does.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Black Comic Book Festival

Black Comic Book Festival

Saturday, January 16, 2016, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
2/3 trains to 135th Street
Across the street from Harlem Hospital

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Fully accessible to wheelchairs 
For all ages 

The Schomburg Center's 4th Annual Black Comic Book Festival celebrates the rich tradition of black comix in a full day event featuring panel discussions, film screenings, hands-on workshops and exhibit tables with premiere black comic artists from across the country. 

Join us and check out the mind-blowing afrofutrism art and design exhibition Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination curated by John Jennings and Reynaldo Anderson.


20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions

We all make bad decisions sometimes, but have you ever wondered what mental obstacles can lead you astray? This info graphic goes over 20 of the most common cognitive biases that can mess with your head when it’s decision time.

Some of the cognitive biases on this graphic from Samantha Lee and Shana Lebowitz at Business Insider may sound pretty familiar. You’ve probably heard of the “placebo effect” and “confirmation bias” altering your perspective, but you may not have heard of other biases like “salience” or the “availability heuristic.” It’s not always easy, but identifying the causes of bad choices might help you prevent them in the future. With the information here you’ll at least have a better chance avoiding the “blind-spot bias,” which is the failing to recognize your own cognitive biases in the first place. 

You can read more at this link.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: Constant Craving by kd lang

Constant Craving
Even Through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin
Constant craving
Has always been
Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
That feeds wisdom
To its youth
Constant craving
Has always been
Ah ha
Constant craving
Has always been
Constant craving
Has always been
Constant craving
Has always been
Ah ha
Constant Craving
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Go See these Exhibitions Winter 2016

Dog Star's Winter 2016 List of Museum Exhibitions
(An Intentionally Incomplete List)

Ebony G. Patterson: Dead Treez

November 10, 2015 to April 3, 2016
Museum of Art & Design (MAD Museum) 

This Place
February 12–June 5, 2016
This Place explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers.
Brooklyn Museum

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008

November 20, 2015–March 13, 2016
Brooklyn Museum 

Vigée Le Brun

Woman Artist in Revolutionary France
February 15–May 15, 2016
Met Museum


Group show of five artists
January 14-April 17, 2016
Whitney Museum

Warhol By the Book

Andy's artwork for book projects
February 5-May 15, 2016
The Morgan Library

Bearing Witness

Drawings by William Gropper
February 14-July 31 2016
Queens Museum

The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems
Children's book author and illustrator
March 18, 2016 - September 25, 2016
NY Historical Society

Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom

January 15, 2014 - Winter 2018 (ongoing)
Brooklyn Historical Society

Munch and Expressionism
February 18-June 13, 2016
Neue Galerie

Sanctuary for Rescued Horses

Jennifer lives on the grounds of a bona fide horse haven. Not only is she surrounded by beautiful horses, but she’s also able their savior. The Duchess Sanctuary is a 1,120-acre facility located near Oakland, OR. 

It’s a gorgeous, vast oasis for 200 formerly abused, abandoned, neglected, and homeless horses. Each horse has a name, a personality, likes, and dislikes — and amazingly, Jennifer knows them all by heart. 

In the video below, Jennifer says many of the rescued horses come from the PMU, or Pregnant Mare Urine, industry. Premarin uses conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs) as the hormonal component in the Premarin family of products used to treat menopausal symptoms in women. 

According to, “Harvested for their urine, the horses suffer terribly for the production of this drug. They are kept continually pregnant in stalls too small for them to even turn around in order for their urine to be collected by filthy, bulky tubing attached to their bodies. When they can no longer reproduce quickly they are sent to the slaughterhouse. Their meat is then sold for human consumption or dog food.” The Duchess Sanctuary is operated by The Fund for Animals in partnership with The HSUS.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


From the archive, 26 August 1974: An interview with Josephine Baker 

From a banana-clad dancer at the Folies Bergère to a Croix de Guerre from De Gaulle himself, Tim Murari meets the enigmatic Josephine Baker
An enchanting child opens the door, gravely extends her hand and says, “Bon jour Monsieur.” She isn’t more than 10, her hair curly and long, skin a pale porcelain brown, a delicate vivacious face which will outlast beauty, and inexhaustible energy that keeps her jumping on the bed as if it were a trampoline, until her mother, Josephine Baker, finishes her telephone call.


Monday, January 4, 2016

10 Habits That Change Boys Into Men

The demise of our culture will result from the demise of its men if something isn’t changed quickly. Far too many men remain directionless, devastated and scared children. 

Male suicide rate increased to three to four times higher than the female suicide rate. Men are twice as likely as women to become alcoholics. And males are far more likely to commit juvenile crime. Much has been said and written in recent years about the challenges of men and boys. 

A sampling of book titles includes: 

Why There Are No Good Men Left 
The Demise of Guys The End of Men 
Why Boys Fail
The End of Men, And The Rise of Women 
Boys Adrift 
Manning Up: How The Rise Of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys 

A common theme is that men and boys have become increasingly confused about their identity and role in society. Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up, put it this way: “It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that whereas girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess, or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors of women and children; this was always their primary social role. 

Today, however, with women moving ahead in an advanced economy, provider husbands and fathers are now optional, and the character qualities men had needed to play their role—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete and even a little embarrassing.” It is the norm in Hollywood films, TV and cable shows, and even commercials to portray men as incompetent, immature, or self-absorbed. 

This underlying message has subtly and increasingly become the collective unconscious with devastating repercussions. Academically, it is reported in the United States that: Girls outperform boys now at every level—from elementary school through graduate school. By eighth grade, only 20 percent of boys are adept in writing and 24 percent adept in reading. Young men’s SAT scores in 2011 were the lowest they’ve been in 40 years. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to drop out of both high school and college. It is predicted that by 2016, women will earn 60 percent of bachelor’s and 63 percent of master’s degrees. Boys make up two-thirds of students in special education remedial programs. Women deserve the increased success they are getting. They’ve been oppressed for far too long. They’re hungrier and more motivated than most men. And hopefully society will continue to allow them the increased equality they deserve. 

However, this article’s focus is on helping the struggling and confused young man. Indeed, many young men have taken the adverse cues of society as an excuse to evade responsibility and never really grow up. If you are a young man and you’re struggling, you are not alone. This article is intended to challenge you to rethink your entire approach to life. If applied, these habits will radically set you apart from the decaying norm. 

Read more at Observer

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Discover Idan Raichel

Led by Israeli keyboardist/producer Idan Raichel seeks to give voice to the amazingly diverse blend of world cultures that comprise Israel's colorful musical landscape. After time spent with the army rock band in which he cut his teeth, touring and performing for troops all over the nation, Idan took work at a boarding school for immigrant youth.

Exposed for the first time to Israel's growing populations of Ethiopian Jews through his students, Idan began to fall in love and identify with Ethiopian folk music. He also found that most of the immigrant boys he worked with were forced to shun the culture of their homeland in desperate hopes of assimilating into mainstream Israeli society. Inspired by this realization, Idan began investing time in learning more about the many immigrant cultures that made up Israel.

Hanging out with a wide variety of musicians, Idan hoped to encourage his students and new friends to embrace and live out their native cultural heritage. In the meantime Idan became an established supporting musician, working as a sideman alongside some of the nation's most important pop acts. With his ever-growing number of world musician friends and pop production knowledge, Idan set to recording some of the richly multicultural music he'd begun to create.

Over 70 musicians contributed to the demo recording that Raichel used to garner the support he would need for a full-length production. With the support of Helicon Records, the Idan Raichel Project was born, featuring the songwriting and production of Raichel, and musical contributions from an amazingly diverse cast of players.

The record created buzz worldwide, showered with praise by some of the industry's most influential voices. It was a breakout success in Israel and throughout the region. Raichel and his group maintained a busy touring schedule in response to their explosive popularity.