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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

First Saturdays at Brooklyn Museum

FREE museum entry and lots of things to see and do this Saturday, April 4 at the Brooklyn Museum - free admission begins at 5pm and the museum is open until 11pm with a free club night with DJs and a massive dance floor. Bring friends and family!

You can make it your own field trip and explore some of the exhibits!

Read more about the artist Gustave Caillebotte here.

Read more about the artist Hernan Bas here.

Read more about the events on April 4 at the Brooklyn Museum's site here.

Acrobatics & Trapeze Show

STREB is a dynamic and exciting acrobatic and trapeze group.
Their performance space is in Williamsburg near the Bedford Street stop on the L train.

A special program for high school students called High 5 (see the link at left under NYC Culture & Arts) offers tickets to see their new show CATAPULT for $5.00.

If students in the class are interested I will plan a group trip for a Saturday afternoon show.

You would pay in advance for as many tickets as you want and then I will place the order.

Date of trip: Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 3:00pm

See videos of this group's performance here.

"He was selling children."

Today's New York Times reports on two judges in Pennsylvania who conspired with their friends to send thousands of teenagers directly to private juvenile detention centers without lawyers, hearings or even evidence. In exchange for sending the teens away the judges received millions of dollars in payments - one mother explained it this way: "he was selling children."

Read the New York Times story here.

See photos and hear the personal stories of four teenagers on podcasts here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Class Schedule Week of March 30-April 3

Photo at right is by Bruce Davidson from 1966 called "High School Student Smoking a Cigarette on 100th Street." It is in the current exhibit on fashion at International Center of Photography

Our schedule for this week:

Monday - March 30
Watch video on Romare Bearden for art project (collage)
related to Broadway show we will attend: "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," by August Wilson on Wednesday, April 29 after 4th period. Trip slips available this week!
(First return on slips gets a reserved seat, tickets are free.)

Tuesday - March 31
Begin collage project - Theme: "We Represent a Community"
Materials will be provided in class - completed collage for 2nd marking period grade

Wednesday - April 1
DUE: Past due article and first article for 2nd marking period
TODAY: Exam #2 on Editorials, editorial cartoons and editorial writing
(same material as Exam #1: study 3Cs for cartoons, identify P.O.K.E.)
DUE: Revised editorial from Exam #1
Typed or handwritten for 40 points to be stapled to Exam #2.

Thursday - April 2
Chloe Hilliard meets with small groups
Team meetings - plan for tomorrow's time in computer room

Friday - April 3

Meet in Room 106 for computer lab time

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Drug Laws: An Update

Today the New York Times reports that lawmakers in Albany have reached a deal on the Rockefeller Drug Laws. We discussed this topic in class during our unit on editorials and editorial writing. We read together an editorial in the Times calling for reform of these laws.

Click here to read the New York Times article and to find out what happened!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Article Reminders

For those students who need to complete past articles, note the following deadlines.

Our goal is to produce publishable articles we can actually place in the school newspaper. It is not enough to merely turn in what you owe on the last day of the marking period.

That poor work habit does not help run a successful student publication. Personal to those of you who sit in class and look as if you can't wait for the bell to ring: Start getting interested.

There' s nothing MORE boring than having to work with other people who can't seem to take an interest in the smallest aspect of their work!

Smart work habits include handing in articles on time, speaking to classmates on your team about what you are writing, asking for advice and ideas, sharing an on-going progress report (verbally) with Ashley and/or Raymond, and, finally be genuinely engaged in class.

All of the articles must be either typed or handwritten and turned into either Ray or Ashley on the designated date. Articles are to be stapled to a yellow assignment sheet!

Deadline #1: For students who need to make up ONE article from first marking period
On Wednesday, April 1 during class time
Deadline #2: For ALL students to meet the requirements FOR FIRST ARTICLE
for 2nd marking period
On Wednesday, April 1 during class time
Deadline #3: For students who need to make up a SECOND article from first marking period
On Friday, April 3 during class time
Deadline #4: For ALL students to meet the requirements FOR SECOND ARTICLE for 2nd marking period
On Wednesday, April 22 during class time

Plan your time for the computer room (106) - next visit is Friday, April 3.

This post features a gratuitous photo of Mr. Gagnon's Doberman puppy Legend (at left on the floor) and two-year old Doberman Achilles at right. Don't hate.

Photojournalist Denies He's an Artist

When Shepard Fairey surfed the internet looking for images of Obama, he didn't expect to find THE ONE taken by Mannie Garcia.

In this New York Times story the photojournalist Mannie Garcia describes what it has been like to be linked to the famous poster created by Fairey. He also explains that he is not an artist himself but that he doesn't TAKE pictures, he MAKES pictures!

Read the full article here - and let us know in class if you read it and what you think about his comments. Does he support Fairey's use of the photo in his poster?

Bergtraum Voice March Issue Out Now!

Click here for the link to our fantastic March issue!

Remember to scroll down and look below the picture of Bergtraum for the MARCH ISSUE!

Bigger, bolder, and tastier than the February issue with fewer calories!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mash-Up: Fake African Sculptures & McDonalds

Jake & Dinos Chapman, brothers, are British artists whose work was recently on view at The Tate Museum in Liverpool, England. Once on a visit to London I saw a whole room of these sculptures and it was quite funny. I am posting this to show you an example of their work (they do everything from painting, sculpture to small war scenes in dioramas) and you can read more about it here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Class Schedule Week of March 23-27

Our schedule for this week:

Monday - March 23
Planning for Friday's College Fair
Looking at the exam editorial for revision

Tuesday - March 24
Bring draft of exam editorial for peer review
Team meetings

Wednesday - March 25
Team meetings

Thursday - March 26
Team meetings

*Note: There will be NO computer room time this week
due to Friday's schedule.

Friday - March 27

No class - Open school afternoon
(only periods 2, 6, 7 & 8)
College Fair in Student Cafeteria at 12:30

Thursday, March 19, 2009


We will meet in Room 106 for the following:

1. Type questions for your upcoming interviews / article assignments.
2. Type draft of article in progress (editorial responses to Beyond Beats & Rhymes)
3. Type draft of exam editorial with revisions.

Make a Video, Win Airline Tickets!

A new contest invites high school and college students to make a 5-10 minute video of an ethnic community with YOU as the tour guide!

Virgin America airlines will award the winner two roundtrip tickets for a flight anywhere they fly. The deadline is in June so you have enough time! Consider working with Downtown Community TV to borrow profesisonal equipment! See link in toolbar at left!

For complete details click here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Announcement of Co-Editors

Please congratulate RAYMOND MOREL and ASHLEY CERDA on being appointed co-editors-in-chief of our school newspaper.

Both of them are enthusiastic about the Spring issues of the online digital magazine and will be speaking to all students during class time to share their vision for the paper, their ideas and to hear your ideas and plans for articles.

Ashley and Raymond ARE NOT Mr. G's assistants. They are the Chief Executive Officers of the company called "Bergtraum Voice." This means they are responsible for the organizing, managing and editing of the school newspaper. All matters related to the running of the school newspaper are their responsibility in collaboration with Mr. Gagnon.

Raymond and Ashley have no input or influence on student grades.

We look forward to your participation and collaboration for an exciting series of Spring issues!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Revise Your Exam Editorial

Today the exam on editorials was returned and we looked at three samples of student writing from the exam. The idea for O.O.P.S. is just one way of reminding ourselves what is necessary when composing the smart and effective editorial. P.O.K.E. is another. They are similar and both are to be seen as guides for writing, not formulas for writing an editorial.

You will now apply both of these approaches to your own editorial. Rather than have it be doen once, forgotten and move on, the editorial writing for the exam can be seen as first draft written under pressure. So, what can you produce if given more time, more help and more understanding on what goes into writing the editorial.

Some students - it seems - did not even bother to read the articles (this is at least suggested by the fact they didn't annotate with notes and did not receive extra credit). The first step for everyone is to re-read the article on the exam. Then, on a computer where you can save the file to a flash drive or folder, type what you wrote for the exam.

Revising means looking at every paragraph to be sure it is doing some job for you in the editorial.
Does the paragraph present EVIDENCE?
Does the paragraph present OPINION?
Does the paragraph express the POSITION?
Overall, does the editorial sound KNOWLEDGABLE?

You will bring a fresh draft, typed, double-spaced and printed out to hand in by March 30.
Due to paper load, pelase do not hand in this editorial BEFORE March 30.
It will be attached to the next examination for 40 points.
If you do not have it on March 30 there is no makeup.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Maximus & Achilles: Brooklyn We Go Hard

Since it takes so long to upload videos to the blog, here is the link
to see a video of Maximus and Achilles. Don't hate.

Team Meetings: Why and How

What is Team Meeting?

Be sure you have copied into your Learning Journal the Team Meeting Protocol from the board in class.

ALL students form a small group OF NO MORE THAN FOUR students (please do not ask to extend it to five or six) to serve as a mini-department for article and journalism activities. You should be sure to join a group with students whose work habits, attitudes and ability will help you do well in class.

What kinds of things will we do in Team Meetings?
The purpose of team meeting time is to collaborate on assignments. You should share your ideas for articles, help each other generate questions, ideas for research and to prepare for interview. Team-mates ARE NOT TO BE Interviewed for your articles. Classmates are NOT TO BE INTERVIEWED for articles unless there is a compelling reaosn for the student's participation in the article. Your team is your sounding board, your editors, your coaches, your listening post and your tutors when needed.

Team Meeting time must always be used responsibly:
1. Plan for computer use for the coming Friday in Room 106
2. Coach each other on how to plan and organize articles.
3. Share Learning Journals to keep up-to-date on classwork and notes.
4. Plan pages for your articles (how do you want it to look, photos, artwork)
5. Edit each other's articles and coach for revision.
6. Do what has to be doen so that all studenst in the team have TWO publishable articles each marking period.

Reminders on ideas for articles:

- Write a contest entry for the New Youth Connections newspaper (see post below).

- Interview a student who is involved in a club / team or school activity.

- Write a review of an album, video game, movie, book, etc.

- Write a personal essay about a topic other students will find interesting (such as coping with teen pressures, relationships, teen sexual / health issues, "My first")

Reminder: 40% of each marking period grade comes from submission of TWO publishable articles each marking period. If you do not pass a marking period because you did not complete these pieces on time, you will be required to make them up as a condition for passing the next marking period. Let's try to avoid the situation where you will need to write SIX articles to pass the third marking period. That would be kind of silly, right? I mean, to wait so long?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sculpture in the Bronx

I took this photo today at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. It is called "Large Reclining Figure" and it is almost 30 feet long! The British sculptor Henry Moore created this in the last two years of his life (1984, he died in 1986). The Garden had many more of his sculptures on view, although it ended today.

Check out more on the Garden's website here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Class Schedule Week of March 16-20

Our schedule for this week:

Monday - March 16
S.A.T. timed-writing practice

Tuesday - March 17
Review exam on editorial writing

Wednesday - March 18
Team meetings for assignments

Thursday - March 19

Chloe Hilliard will meet with designated students in one-on-one coaching

Friday - March 20

Computer Lab time to type articles / assignments

Brooklyn We Go Hard!

Brooklyn residents - and New York City history buffs - will enjoy this cool, interactive site on Brooklyn history with photos and maps.

I found this old postcard of Church Avenue at the corner of Flatbush "back in the day."

The site is explains many place names and you select locations on a map by clicking on one of the six original town names (Brooklyn, Bushwick, New Utrecht, Flatbush, Flatlands, and Gravesend). These original towns later consolidated and became the City of Brooklyn. Even later they joined New York City as one of the five boroughs.

Find the site called "Brooklyn Revealed" here.

In addition, PBS features a story and video on Weeksville, Brooklyn: An African-American community founded in the 1800s. Click here.

Let us know in class if you visited the site and what you found out about Brooklyn!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Editorial Cartoons

Editorial cartoons may be read and understood by "unpacking" their parts:

CONTENT - What is the topic of the editorial cartoon?

COMMENT - What does the cartoonist try to say or comment about the topic?

CONCEPT - How does the cartoonist express this idea?

We will use this strategy to express and understanding of the TOTAL CARTOON.

Summer Architecture Program

Guggenheim Museum will sponsor a summer architecture
program for 16 sessions during July 2009.

This program will meet at the museum at 90th & 5th Avenue
in the mornings and use the exhibit on the architect
Frank Lloyd Wright to create both real and digital architecture
models of your own.

Open to all teens in high school. Scholarships automatically granted
to anyone who is accepted and requests one.

Deadline is April 15, 2009. If serious, tell Mr. Gagnon since a letter of
recommendation is required.

Application materials are here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Art in the Subways

Check out the MoMA exhibit INSIDE the subway station at Atlantic/Pacific in downtown Brooklyn.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Online Slideshow of Famous Photographs

National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. presents
an online slideshow with samples from books of photography
in the past 50 years.

Very interesting to see the changes in format and graphic
presentation of photos over time.

Click here for the slideshow.