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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Hope of Rescue: Raft of the Medusa

Musée du Louvre
DOG STAR always makes a point to visit the Louvre Museum on our field trips to Paris.  The museum (pronounced sort of like "loo-v," similar to cool or smooth) was once a grand palace, later Napoleon's apartment in a small portion (the place is massive), still later used for government offices and then, finally, turned over to the national government to hold France's art treasures up to 1850.  Art after 1850 is exhibited at another museum - Musee D'Orsay (a converted rail station, imagine Grand Central Station renovated to display artwork - including on platforms over the old rail tracks!)

The Louvre is considered an "encyclopedic" museum, meaning it's collection presents the development of world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century (African, Etruscan, Islamic, European and so on) and is one of the four largest in the world (others are British Museum in London; Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Metropolitan Museum here in NYC).

Now, the Louvre has just announced their entire collection is available online in English!  Why does this matter?  Before today, anybody who wanted to look up any work of art had to know French to read descriptions, find out details and even the location of a work of art.  Multimedia slideshows, interactive 3D models and "guided tours" are also part of the new site.

The Louvre's most famous resident is, of course, Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa (the French call her "La Jocande").  She visited NYC and Washington, D.C. in 1963 and after 1974's visit to Tokyo she has never left the museum.  More here...

This gives DOG STAR the opportunity to share three favorite works of art in the Louvre's collection.  Below is a more detailed description of Gericault's painting "Raft of the Medusa" - DOG STAR's all-time favorite French painting!

Winged Victory of Samothrace - Circa 190 BC (this means it is believed to have been carved 190 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, so it is at least 2199 years old!) - Link to site here!

Théodore GÉRICAULT (Rouen, 1791 - Paris, 1824) The Raft of the Medusa Salon of 1819

Paolo CALIARI, known as VERONESE (Verona, 1528 – Venice, 1588) The Wedding Feast at Cana - Link to site here!

The Hope of Rescue:  The Raft of the Medusa
Completed in 1819 by Theodore Gericault, purchased by the Louvre Museum from Gericault's estate after his death.  The Raft of the Medusa - a major work in French 19th century paitning - is generally regarded as an icon of Romanticism.  It depicts an event whose human and political aspects greatly interested Gericault:  the wreck of a French frigate (ship) off the coast of Senegal in 1816, with over 150 soldiers on board.  The painter researched the story in newspapers and written accounts by survivors and made numerous sketches before deciding on his definitive composition, which illustrates the hope of rescue.  More here...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.

Virginia Woolf(1882-1941)

10 Picks for the Fall Season Preview

DOG STAR will be taking an end-of-summer hiatus soon and wants you to know some of the great cultural events on the horizon for the Fall season.  

Be sure to use the toolbar at left under "NYC Culture & The Arts" to find out what's happening at other sites all over the city!  And be sure to continue to use the toolbar "Things to Do This Summer"!

Nobel-prize Winner Toni Morrison at Union Square Barnes & Noble
Wednesday, August 19, 7pm - arrive no later than 6pm if you want get anywhere near her to see her speak!  This event will be packed.  Show up later at your own risk and they may turn you away!  We have seen her speak many times and she is funny in person, too!  DOG STAR enjoyed the new novel by Morrision - "A Mercy" - more here - a short account of life in the 1600s in which Morrison imagines several kinds of enslavement - physical, emotional and spiritual.

Documentary series on Channel 13 (PBS)
Choose to watch some television that matters:  Independent Lens (here) has a varied line up that includes "Dorothy & Herb" - a film announced here when it hit theaters in the Spring. Other documentaries include a story about a teenager in a high school in India who struggles with being a snitch for the police to catch other thieves, a bio on two Hungarian-born cinematographers who helped make some of Hollywood's greatest films, and a story on a man facing kidney failure while pushing ahead to be on the road with his rock band.

Brit Artist Hurvin Anderson Debuts at Studio Museum in Harlem
Interior spaces of every day people are the subject matter for these fantastic paintings by a British artist Hurvin Anderson in first American show.  Drawing on his Caribbean roots, Anderson depicts spaces from memory with striking colors and details.  Studio Museum (here) gives lots of reasons to check out the show:  FREE all day every Sunday!

Georgia O'Keefe's Abstract Art at the Whitney Museum
Whitney Museum presents a large show of O'Keefe's abstract work (here for link).  This will be one of the most popular exhibits in NYC this fall!  The exhibition includes more than 130 paintings, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures by O'Keefe as well as selected examples of Alfred Stieglitz's famous photographic portrait series of O'Keefe.  Three small pictures above part of O'Keefe show.

Photographer Robert Franks featured in 50th anniversary show of his photo-journey "The Americans" at the Metropolitan Museum
We saw this show last April when DOG STAR took a field trip to the D.C. area.  Photographers and photo fans must not miss this celebration of an influential American photographer.  Fifty years ago Franks received support to travel across the U.S. and document his journey.  Here for Met link with special talks and events on October 4.  Here for comprehensive site made by the National Gallery when the Franks show was there last April.  Photo at top part of the Franks show.

Museum of Chinese in America Opens New Gallery on Centre Street
DOG STAR stopped by recently and it was confirmed that after their official re-opening on Sept. 22, they will maintain Target Free Thursdays from 11am-8pm (here for site).  Architect Maya Lin has designed a spectacular space for the MOCA collection - it's not just about Chinese-Americans - it is American history and a truly engaging museum experience in a small space.  Here for more on Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnan Veteran's Memorial in D.C.

Really Cheap Theater / Dance / Music Tix for Teens through High 5
Spreading the word, again, about this great program.  Right now they are promoting an offer for FringeNYC festival tickets (here) and you'll want to bookmark their page to check back for fall preview tickets.  Also available:  A teen reviewers and critics program called TRaC (here) for those who want to get involved and have something meaningful for college and career applications!

Kandinsky and Kapoor at the Guggenheim Museum
We stopped by the Goog recently to see the Frank Lloyd Wright celebration and enjoy the scrubbed-up, clean look of the place for its 50th birthday.  The museum was originally founded by Solomon Guggenheim (and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) as a place to show his Kandinksy (here) paintings and other "non-objective art."  Anish Kapoor's (here) sculpture is modern and exciting and will also be on view this fall.  Student admission is (ugh!) $15.00 but on Saturday evening it is "pay-what-you-wish" and you know what DOG STAR says:  take three friends or your younger brother,  walk up to the ticket desk with $1.00 and say, "Four, please."

Chili Pepper Fiesta at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Saturday, October 3, noon-6pm.  DOG STAR paints watercolors here weekly so we already know this will be great fun! This annual fall event celebrates all things chili pepper (here for site link) including performances, ethnic foods, and crafts.  Bring your family and friends!

GUTS TO FIGHT FOR IT - exhibit on ending segregation at Schomburg Center
Schomburg is a Harlem institution, now part of the New York Public Library system, dedicated to the preservation and telling of black American stories and history.  This show (here) provides an opportunity to learn more about America's painful and unjust policies of segregation and the extra-ordinary folks who fought it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New York Anime Festival in September!

New York Anime Festival in New York City
September 25-27
Jacob Javits Convention Center


Here for event website!

Yoshiyuki Tomino

Yoshiyuki Tomino

Yoshiyuki Tomino, born November 5, 1941 in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, began his animation career at Mushi Productions where he scripted and storyboarded the classic anime series Astro Boy. Going on to direct, Mr. Tomino has overseen numerous series including Aura Battler Dunbine, Brain Powerd, Overman King Gainer, and The Wings of Rean. His longest-lasting legacy is Mobile Suit Gundam, a genre-breaking series first broadcast in 1979, which is noted for defining the current realistic portrayal of robots in Japanese animation. The original Mobile Suit Gundam series has been followed by numerous sequels and spin-offs, and the saga continues today with its latest entry -- Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) -- debuting this winter in Japan.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dance Legend Merce Cunningham Dies at Age 90

“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.”
- Merce Cunningham

FROM ROCK DAILY BLOG: Influential and innovative choreographer Merce Cunningham died in his sleep last night. He was 90. In a career that spans seven decades, Cunningham frequently collaborated with avant-garde composer John Cage, who was Cunningham’s life partner until Cage’s death in 1992. After studying under the great Martha Graham, Cunningham established the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1953.

Here for Rollng Stone magazine blog post with video of Cunningham's "Split Sides" dance

Here for the lengthy New York Times obituary

First Saturdays Party at Brooklyn Museum THIS WEEKEND!

DOG STAR readers enjoy a free party and this monthly event never disappoints. Brooklyn Museum is free after 5pm and all kinds of activities are planned for early evening folks with families (small children) to late evening dance party with a DJ on the upper floor.

Easy to reach: 2/3 train to Eastern Parkway - museum is right upstairs when you exit the station.

While at the museum be sure to check out the multi-part show by Yinka Shonibare MBE, a Nigerian-born, London-based artist who works with headless mannequins and large-scale installations. See blog archive for an earlier post on this artist.

Saturday, August 1 5pm-11pm - FREE

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grounds for Sculpture: A Day Trip to New Jersey

DOG STAR appreciates it when other bloggers have such great tips on culture and the arts!  D.H. Schleicher has great pictures and a small report on his visit to New Jersey's "Grounds for Sculpture," a year-round sculpture park 75 minutes from New York City.

From New York City WITHOUT A CAR take New Jersey Transit from Penn Station to the Hamilton, NJ station.  Then a 5-minute cab ride to the grounds (on the former New Jersey State fairgrounds).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Moth: Storytelling events at venues across the city / Upcoming shows!

Many DOG STAR readers are natural storytellers.  THE MOTH  has been bringing together storytellers - of all ages, all backgrounds - for many years first here in NYC and now across the country.  Check out their website for more information on being a storyteller (here) or go just to watch.

The Moth conducts six programs:

Stories at The Moth, our mainstage series, features celebrated writers and actors and other unique storytellers whose stories are developed and directed by The Moth.

The Moth StorySLAMs, now in LA as well as New York, are storytelling competitions where the stage is open to any and all with a story to tell on the evening's theme.

The Moth Outreach Program conducts storytelling workshops for underserved teens and marginalized adults.

The Moth On The Road, The Moth frequently travels outside New York City always on the quest to bring more true stories to even more people.

The MothShop offers corporate storytelling training for team-building and presentation purposes as well as corporate events and helps underwrite our other storytelling programs.

The Annual Moth Ball, our November gala, celebrates the year in storytelling and brings crucial funds to the organization.

How to Participate

You want to tell a story:

  • Consult our calendar to find our published theme
  • Conjure, channel, craft and compose your story
  • Practice so you can remember it without the benefits of paper. Then practice it so you can keep it down to five minutes. Tell it to your plants but know that they are a tough audience. Revise. Rework. Curse your plants for not believing in you! Revamp. Finesse. Shave off another two minutes. Try again. Voila! Forgive your plants. Indeed, they helped you see the light.
  • Come to the Moth StorySLAM and put your name in the hat

If you are one of the lucky 10 picked you'll have five minutes to woo the audience with tales of your on-theme escapades.

Unpicked? Fear not, some variation of your theme will surely rise again. All stories have multiple themes and stretching them to fit can be fun and even bring out elements you hadn’t recognized before.
See our story tips below.

Monday, July 27, 2009 - NY Moth StorySLAM


$6 at the door

at The Bitter End
147 Bleecker Street 
(between Thompson and LaGuardia)

7:00pm Doors open
7:30pm Stories start on stage

$7 at the door

Monday, August 3, 2009 - NY Moth StorySLAM

Working Stiffs

at South Paw
125 Fifth Avenue
Park Slope, Brooklyn

7.30pm Doors open 
8.00pm Stories start on stage

$7 tickets at the door

Monday, August 3, 2009

Stories on Stage

Featuring stories from the MothShop Community Program

at The Nuyorican

236 East 3rd Street

(between Avenues B and C)

7:00pm: Doors

7:30pm: Stories begin

$5 at the door

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spectacular Photography Features Bronx Views in New Show

The Bronx Museum of the Arts has commissioned the award winning photographer Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao to range throughout the streets, parks, and alleys surrounding the Grand Concourse and create a photographic portrait of the borough of the Bronx as it is today—vital, teeming, and changing. The photographic commission came as part of the Museum’s year-long commemoration of the centennial of the storied Grand Concourse. 

And now the results are in. A bravura series of 12 large-format, technically complex color photographs will go on view at the Bronx Museum beginning Sunday, August 2, 2009 (through January 4, 2010) in Intersections: The Grand Concourse Commissions. 

Friday, July 24, 2009

FREE! - Just One Week Left to See Giant Twisting Snake Exhibit by Huang Yong Ping in Chelsea Gallery (Last day next Friday, July 31)

Artist Huang Yong Ping
Barbara Gladstone Gallery
530 West 21st Street - West of 11th Avenue
Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-6pm

The temple-like construction takes its form from a snake skeleton.  The twisting view from tale to head is replete with different historic and religious nuances.  Gothic architecture appears where the snake ribs are transformed into arches, and parts of the tower are subtly cruciform in construction. The gallery invites patrons to walk through the passageways of this modern Tower of Babel, to better take in the artist’s conflation of different cultures and historical narratives.

New Museum Exhibit on Jewish Refugees at Black Colleges

John Biggers (1924-2001), The Gleaners, 1943, oil on canvas, 27 1/4" x 40", signed. Influenced by Millet's classic painting (see picture below!), Biggers' gleaners are picking up pieces of coal that dropped from the trains, to save the cost of 25 cents per bucket for heating fuel. John Biggers was a student of Viktor Lowenfeld’s at Hampton Institute.

Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875), The Gleaners, 1857, oil on canvas, Musee D'Orsay, Paris.

Museum of Jewish Heritage is FREE on Wednesdays from 4:00-8:00pm - Here for website!

In 1935, an article in the Afro-American paper stated: “We rejoice that our newspapers condemn German Nazi atrocities. It’s a good sign that they may yet discover the Nazism which is outside their own doors.”

The relationship between two disenfranchised groups—Jewish professors who fled Nazi Germany and African-American students — and the unique bond that grew between them is the subject of the powerful new exhibition Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges, opening at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust on May 1, 2009. The exhibition will be on view through January 2010.

Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow will tell the story of Jewish academics from Germany and Austria who were dismissed from their teaching positions in the 1930s. After fleeing to America, some refugee scholars found positions at historically black colleges and universities in the Jim Crow South.

The exhibition will explore what it meant to the students to have these new staff as part of their community, how the students were affected by their presence, and what life was like for white, European Jews teaching at black colleges and universities. The exhibit will look at the empathy between two minority groups with a history of persecution, some of whom came together in search of freedom and opportunity, and shared the early years of struggle in the Civil Rights movement.
To read more

Discover artist Man Ray at Jewish Museum this Fall!

Man Ray, The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows, 1916, oil on canvas. Museum of Modern Art.
Museum is FREE on Saturdays!

Man Ray grew up in Brooklyn!

A trailblazing figure in 20th-century art, Man Ray (1890-1976)
revealed multiple artistic identities over the course of his
career – Dadaist, Parisian Surrealist, international portrait
and fashion photographer – and produced many important
and enduring works as a photographer, painter, filmmaker,
writer, sculptor, and object maker. Relatively few people
know that he was born Emmanuel Radnitzky to Russian
Jewish immigrants. In fact, he spent a lifetime suppressing
his background to the point of denying he was ever called
anything but Man Ray. 

The Jewish Museum will present Alias Man Ray:
The Art of Reinvention from November 15, 2009 through
March 14, 2010, a major exhibition considering how the
artist’s life and career were shaped by his turn-of-the-century
American Jewish immigrant experience and his lifelong
evasion of his past.

The exhibition explores the deliberate cultural ambiguity of
Man Ray who became the first American artist to be accepted
by the avant-garde in Paris.  It also examines the dynamic
connection between Man Ray’s assimilation, the evolution
of his art, and his willful construction of a distinctive artistic
persona, as evidenced in a series of subtle, encrypted self-references
throughout his career. 

Visitors to Alias Man Ray will be privy to the artist’s endless
experimentation in over 200 works including photographs, paintings,
sculptures and objects, drawings, films and a selection of his writings.

Best known as a photographer, Man Ray in fact moved from one
medium to another as he defied aesthetic boundaries.
The Jewish Museum show does not confine itself to one period of the
artist’s career or a single medium, such as photography. This approach
is essential to illustrating how Man Ray continuously broke with aesthetic
tradition and forged a new artistic identity. 

He came of age at the beginning of the 20th century and the rise of abstract art.
Man Ray grew up in Williamsburg , Brooklyn . His father worked as a
tailor and his mother was a seamstress. After being introduced to New York
art circles by photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz, he went off to Paris
—the center of experimental art—and was embraced by the avant-garde.
The year was 1921 and Man Ray was 31. In Paris , he was perceived as
neither Jewish nor a New Yorker but as a free-thinking American who
quickly gained notice. 

To make ends meet, he took assignments photographing a broad spectrum
of literary and artistic figures. That group now reads like a modernist pantheon
—André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway,
Marcel Proust and Gertrude Stein, among others. These innovative portraits,
all on view in the exhibition, provide a chronicle of the social milieu in which
Man Ray thrived. 

Man Ray engaged in a constant process of self-inscription and erasure,
managing to outwit anyone who wanted to label him. Like his fellow
Dadaist and close friend Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray took delight in playing
games and confounding expectations. With his steadfast independence and his
need to explore every artistic avenue, Man Ray forged a vision that changed
the very way art was conceived.

Dancing in the Streets - FREE event in Queens THIS Saturday!


100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona

1 pm: THE OTHER SIDE OF HIP HOP: THE SIXTH ELEMENT. Film screening and panel discussion with producer, writer, and director Dion Michael Ashman, Hip Hop Photo Activist Brother Ernie Paniccioli, Kangol Kid of UTFO, and Lin Que (formerly known as Isis of X-Klan)

3:30 pm: IT'S BIGGER THAN HIP HOP: THE RISE OF THE POST-HIP-HOP GENERATION. Author talk and book signing with author, filmmaker, and professor M.K. Asante, Jr. 

Go to; and click on Directions to find out how to get to the Langston Hughes this Saturday, July 25th.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dominicans in Harlem and Dragon Boats in Queens

Two upcoming events are worth checking out - great opportunities for enjoying free music, cultural events and to meet new people!  (DOG STAR photographers will find rich photo opportunities at both these events!)  Both events are RAIN or SHINE!

Hong King Dragon Boat Festival
Flushing Meadows Park
Saturday, August 8 & Sunday, August 9
#7 train to Mets-Willets Point Station: transfer to the special event bus. 
E, F, R trains to Jackson Heights/ Roosevelt Avenue: transfer to the Flushing bound #7 train to Mets-Willets Point Station. 

Bachata Roja Legends
Dominican Cultural festival with live music, vendors, dancing
P.S. 161 ball fields - entrance at Amsterdam Avenue and 134th Street
Saturday, August 15 - Gates open 2:00pm

FREE Online Resource for Making Websites

We will certainly get a message from a DOG STAR reader to let us know we're late-to-the-game on this but we're happy to share it anyway:  Wix is a free website service that allows you to drag-and-drop page elements on a web page.

No code is needed and you don't even need to know Flash.  It's not as easy as this site's host blogspot (now owned by Google, of course), which uses another method called "push-button" publishing to make the page.

Here for the link - simple and free registration is required (your email and a user name/password).  Might be worth it for photographers and small business entrepreneurs among you!  Check it out!

McKibben Street Fair in Bushwick THIS Saturday

Artists, vendors and performers will converge on McKibben Street in Bushwick this Saturday.

Saturday, July 25 from 1pm-9pm
On McKibben Street between White Street and Bushwick Avenue
L train to Morgan or Montrose

Link to event website here!

Teens Get Active in Helping New Orleans

A devoted DOG STAR (awesomesauce!) reader provides today's post. He suggested we spread the word on this group called "New York 2 New Orleans" or ny2no. This group organizes FREE community service and activism programs for teenagers in New York City with an emphasis on New Orleans projects.

This summer ny2no will send nine "brigades" (or volunteer teams of teens and chaperones) to New Orleans for community outreach and service. Awesomesauce is waiting to hear if his application has been accepted for one of these summer trips.

Photo above is a ny2no team member visiting a Hurricane Katrina site in Summer 2008.

Here for link to group's website!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Latino Film Festival Begins Next Week!

This annual festival presents both WORLD PREMIERE and FREE events and programming for ALL audiences. The Latino-themed content is pretty broad:
  • A feature film about a Latino ex-con (played by Benjamin Bratt) whose love for his son is tested when the son reveals he is gay (La Mission - here)
  • A documentary about the Fania All-Stars who joined Celia Cruz and others for concerts in the same week as the Ali-Foreman fight in Africa. This will be a FREE screening (here) in East Harlem as part of "Cinema Under the Stars."
  • A new film - called "Don't Let Me Drown" - critics and audiences loved it at Sundance - about two teenagers confronting loves and loss after 9/11 (here) - We will probably skip this screening since this film is expected to get a wide theatrical release in the fall or winter!
  • A tribute to actor John Leguizamo who will receive and award and appear at the screening of his new film "Where God Left His Shoes" (here)
If you go to any of these screenings, let us know and we'll post your review on DOG STAR!

"Cinema Under the Stars" - FREE EVENT
Saturday, August 1, 8:30pm - East Harlem


watch Trailer 1... 1 picture
Run time: 60 min. USA color
screenings reviews
In 1974 Celia Cruz & The Fania All Stars were invited to take part in a 3-day festival in celebration of black sports and entertainment in Kinshasa, Zaire. Their original performance on the first day caused such a hysterical response from the audience that they were invited back two days later for an encore performance. The concert was part of the famous Rumble in the Jungle title fight between the reigning champion George Foreman and the greatest, Muhammad Ali. Their phenomenal performance to an audience of 80,000 people at the Stadu du Hai was shot in 35mm on sic camaras by director Leon Gast (who won an Academy Award for When We Were Kings.) Featuring Johnny Pacheco, Cheo Felicano, Hector Lavoe and Roberto Roena.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

Who can tell what metals the gods use in forging the subtle bond which we call sympathy, which we might as well call love.

Kate Chopin (1851-1904)

Censorship, Supreme Court & Sotomayor


The Day Obscenity Became Art

TODAY is the 50th anniversary of the court ruling that overturned America’s obscenity laws, setting off an explosion of free speech — and also, in retrospect, splashing cold water on the idea, much discussed during Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, that judges are “umpires” rather than agents of social change.

Tucker Nichols

The historic case began on May 15, 1959, when Barney Rosset, the publisher of Grove Press, sued the Post Office for confiscating copies of the uncensored version of D. H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” which had long been banned for its graphic sex scenes.

Most lawyers of the time would have advised Mr. Rosset that he had a weak case. Back in 1873, Anthony Comstock, the former postal inspector who founded the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, had persuaded Congress to pass a law outlawing obscenity, which state and federal courts came to define over the decades as works that “community standards” would regard as “lustful,” “lewd,” “lascivious” or “prurient.”

Here for the entire article - link to NYTimes site!

Iraqi Trumpet Player to Perform in FREE Concert Outdoors at Lincoln Center with Famous Jazz Ensemble

Featured Video

Amir El Saffar - Bringing Iraq and the World Together: The Inspiring Music of Amir ElSaffar (In Arabic+other subs)

Amir ElSaffar's Two Rivers Large Ensemble
and The Dave Brubeck Quartet
with special guest soloist Simon Shaheen

Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar’s expanded jazz-cum-Arabic music ensemble unveils a hauntingly beautiful avant-blend that infuses ancient Iraqi maqams with a contemporary intensity. Legendary pianist Dave Brubeck, who has incorporated Middle Eastern influences for a half century, returns to Out of Doors to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his landmark album Time Out, plus debuts a first-time collaboration with famed oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Damrosch Park Bandshell - If you are facing Lincoln Center at 64th & Broadway - go up the steps to the plaza with a fountain in the center.  Walk towards the back and left and look for signs for the park.

Click here for a more detailed map

Damrosch Park is located at the southwest corner of the Lincoln Center Plaza, at 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

By subway: Take the 1 train to 66th Street/Lincoln Center Station or the 1, A, B, C, D to 59th Street/Columbus Circle and proceed towards 62nd Street on Columbus Avenue.

Anniversary of Scopes Trial

In 1925, Tennessee biology teacher John Scopes was tried for violating the Butler Act, a law enacted earlier that year banning the teaching of evolution. He was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was later reversed. The "Monkey Trial," as it came to be known, served as a flashpoint for debate among religious scholars, scientists, and the public, but despite the outcry stemming from the case, the Butler Act was not repealed until 1967. Why did Scopes never testify during the trial? More...

FREE Preview of New Museum in Chinatown!

Photo caption:
Hazel Ying Lee’s remarkable but relatively anonymous life story as a pioneer Chinese American woman aviator during the 1930’s and 1940’s is brought to the fore through the Museum’s recent acquisition of items donated by Frances M. Tong and Alan H. Rosenberg.

Hazel Ying Lee was born in 1912 in Portland, Oregon to immigrant parents from Shanghai, China. Despite facing obstacles and discrimination for being female and Chinese American, Hazel pursued, trained, and achieved her dream of becoming a pilot. In 1943, she became the “first Chinese American woman to fly for the U.S. military” as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program. The WASP program was started by the U.S. military to draft female pilots to remedy the shortage of male pilots. Hazel Ying Lee was among a group of over one thousand women involved with the program and its first Asian American member. A month before the termination of the program in 1944 and towards the end of the war, Hazel Ying Lee’s life came to an abrupt end when her plane collided with another plane in Montana while in flight. She died at the age of 33. Leaving a legacy of heroic endeavor, Hazel Ying Lee’s story is an integral and significant part of our collective history.

For many years the Museum of the Chinese in America operated in a cramped space on a corner of Mulberry Street. Now they've moved to brand new facilities on Centre Street, just north of Canal Street. They don't officially open their doors until late September but are offering FREE preview Thursdays. Plan a visit with friends and see a truly engaging and fascinating presentation and exhibits on the role of Chinese Americans in building our nation as well as Asian-themed programming. Unfortunately, we have missed last week's special presentation on the film "Gran Torino" with Hmong actors from the Detroit area.

Here for website link!

Thursday, July 30, August 6, 13, 20 & 27 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Target Free Thursday

(Free Admission)


Location & Directions

MOCA is located at 215 Centre Street (between Howard and Grand Streets) and is one block north of Canal Street.

By Subway

N, R, Q, W, J, M, Z, and 6 trains to Canal Street; M9, M15, M103 buses.

Monday, July 20, 2009

City Parks Concerts This Week!

City Parks Foundation has a terrific lineup (here) of free concerts in all five boroughs so I wanted to post the link again to remind DOG STAR readers of upcoming shows:

This Wednesday in Crotona Park:  KRS-One
This Thursday in East River Park:  Slick Rick
Next Wednesday, July 29 in Brower Park (BK):  Wayne Wonder
Tuesday, August 4 in Red Hook:  Frankie Negron

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sean Paul this Friday (and again in one month!)

Sean Paul will give a free concert this Friday, July 24 at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park for Good Morning America (details here).

He will also give a free concert August 24 in Brooklyn at Wingate Field (details here).

Those of you who have heard our Sean Paul concert story from last November will know one thing:  We will be at Central Park (although not at later Brooklyn show due to travel plans).

New album "Imperial Blaze" drops on August 18.  Just in know, you might want it?

New Web Address for this Blog!

We are pleased to announce a new web address for this blog:

We feel this site address more accurately reflects the non-Bergtraum content that appears here and the evolving site mission of promoting free and low-cost cultural events to teenagers.

Summer Highlights & Updates

Serious film fans - and those interested in self-education on classic cinema - should check out the Film Forum festival on 1950s director Nicholas Ray.  Although most famous for James Dean-starring film "Rebel Without a Cause," Ray directed many worthwhile films.  Photo at top of this blog post is a collage of film stills from Ray films.  Here for NYTimes article on the film series and here for Film Forum link.

Caridad de la Luz, a Bergtraum grad, was featured in a New York Times story (here) this past Saturday. She shares her motivation, inspiration and how she embodies "ache" - a Santeria concept.  Here for review of "Boogie Rican Boulevard."

We recently visited Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's modern masterpiece in western Pennsylvania.  Most remarkable is the idea that rather than design and build a summer home for the Kaufmans with a view of the Bear Run water fall, Wright placed the house directly OVER the falls.  This has the impact of a more intimate connection to the site - hearing the falls, the rushing water - instead of seeing the falls, which requires distance for a view.

Celebrate Brooklyn - free concert series in Prospect Park - has a terrific lineup for rest of the summer.  Be sure to check toolbar at left for summer happenings and (here) for Prospect Park concert series.  This bandshell is real easy to reach:  Take F train to 9th Street in Brooklyn and walk up the hill to Prospect Park - the concert area is just inside!

Governors Island gets another write-up - this time in The New York Times (here).  After New York Magazine's review of the FREE ferry, FREE Friday bike rentals and FREE admission, you'd think there wasn't anything else to say.  Times story includes plans for coming years and announces that the Island will be open for visitors through October.  Additionally, do not forget to check the summer concert series (here) too!  

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    FREE concerts in Central Park this weekend! Make a plan and take family and friends!

    Central Park

     Q-Tip, Chester French, Little Dragon, Benji B
    Saturday, July 18, 2009
    From 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Central Park SummerStage

    The beloved hip hop innovator and Renaissance man shares the day with musical trailblazers from around the globe. 
    Q-Tip is an American hip hop artist, singer, and occasional actor from Queens, perhaps best known as the leader of legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. After Tribe disbanded in 1998, Q-Tip pursued a solo career.  His first singles "Vivrant Thing" and "Breathe & Stop" exemplified his move towards more pop-oriented recordings, closely followed by his solo debut LP Amplified.  Named after sculptor Daniel Chester French,Chester French is an American pop band anchored by founding members Maxwell Drummey and D.A. Wallach.  Influenced by genres ranging from Motown and swing to power-pop, country and rap, Chester French is constantly reinventing their style and sound.  Gothenburg, Sweden-based Little Dragonconsists of Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano and friends Erik Bodin (drums), Källgren Wallin (bass), and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards).  In 2007 the band signed with large British indie label Peacefrog Records and released their self-titled debut album.  British DJ and radio host of “Deviation” on BBC Radio 1, Benji B spins the best in jazz, funk, hip hop, house, broken beats, and more. 

     Alpha Blondy & The Solar System, Lee "Scratch" Perry & Dubblestandart, & Subatomic Sound System
    Sunday, July 19, 2009
    From 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Central Park SummerStage

    These two charismatic and political reggae originators, from Côte d'Ivoire and Jamaica, have defined the genre and expanded its global reach.
    Alpha Blondy is one of the world’s most respected Ivorian reggae performers. Singing predominantly in his native language of Dioula as well as French, English, Arabic, and Hebrew, Alpha Blondy creates lyrics that convey strong political attitudes and a fine sense of humor.  Backed by the rhythmic beats and drippy sounds of his band The Solar System, Alpha Blondy has created music categorized as being truly his own. 
    Eccentric, Grammy award winning reggae legend, godfather of dub, and innovative producer of the early Bob Marley classics, Lee “Scratch” Perryteams up with Vienna’s Dubblestandart to revisit his most classic 70s music with a new twist of futuristic electronics.  Founded at the turn of the millennium, NYC’s Subatomic Sound System has built a reputation worldwide for explosive shows, innovative production, and breaking down barriers with their unique adaptation of 1970’s Jamaican sound system culture and dub reggae studio techniques to current music genres, technology, and live performances.

      To see a full list of SummerStage 2009 Concerts click here!