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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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, October 31, 2009

Discover Antony & The Johnsons: Live cover of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" with full orchestra in Amsterdam

DOG STAR readers are also fans of all kinds of music.

Sometimes an artist does something so unusual that it deserves a closer look.

Antony Hegarty and his band The Johnsons toured Europe this past summer and played with full orchestras.  On their set list:  A cover of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" with an orchestra.

DOG STAR hopes you'll try it - it will seem strange at first, maybe, but give it a chance.  You may just end up a fan!

Photo above is from Antony's video for his song "Epilepsy is Dancing"

Here for CRAZY IN LOVE video 

Here for Antony & The Johnsons website 

If you are a fan, be sure to check out this mash up with Jay Z and Antony

Mash up here 

Here for "Epilespsy is Dancing" video 

Black Female Cuts Line at Wal-Mart and Now Faces 15 Years in Prison

DOG STAR knows that this kind of story is much more complicated than it appears.  Heather Ellis, 24,  cut the line at Wal Mart in Missouri.

Was she the victim of racism and police brutality or did she lose control and assault an officer?

Here for the CNN link 

High School Students Ticketed by Police for Rapping

DOG STAR finds it amusing and disturbing when white teen males get into trouble for rapping.  The most recent example is this story this week from Utah who rapped their order at a McDonalds and were cited by the police for disorderly conduct.

Here for the CNN link 

Is the Age of Hip Hop Over? New Yorker Mag Has an Answer!

This week in the magazine, Sasha Frere-Jones reviews new albums by Jay-Z, Raekwon, and Freddie Gibbs. Here he analyzes samples from their music, and talks with Blake Eskin about the aesthetic and business forces that have threatened the dominance of hip-hop, and what lies ahead for this musical genre.

To accompany this week’s column, on the transitional state of rap, here is a short film directed by Evan Hurd and starring Freddie Gibbs, Gary, Indiana’s second-most-famous musician. (This week.)

Watch the short film here 

Read the article here 

Listen to the mp3 on the player here

Friday, October 30, 2009

Five stars for new film "Black Dynamite" - go see this one and NOT "Stepfather"

DOG STAR knows that "Black Dynamite" is going to be big!  Once word gets around about how smart and funny and entertaining it is, DOG STAR readers will anxiously wait for the DVD release come January.  If you have weekend plans with a date or friends, STRONGLY consider "Black Dynamite."

If you liked the re-make of "Shaft" and the original or "Superfly" then give this one a chance, too.  It would be even better if you saw one or two of these "black exploitation" or "blaxploitation" films before seeing "Black Dynamite" since it creates a world much like these films.  Yes, there is action!

Do you really need to see another silly film like "Stepfather"?

Why go see "Black Dynamite"?  In the 1970s, the emergence of black cultural power in America meant that black film directors were also invited to Hollywood.  These films were specifically targeted to urban black audiences and the first films to feature soul and funk music.  The characters were stereotypes of blacks such as pimps and drug dealers.  The films were popular but accused of ignoring real problems in urban areas.

Later film directors like Spike Lee sought to make films that took up black urban issues in smart and meaningful ways and to show blacks as fully realized human beings rather than one-dimensional cartoons.

"Black Dynamite" gently spoofs these blaxploitation films and challenges us to consider the images we see of ourselves on screen.  Terrific martial arts sequences since co-writer and star, Michael Jai White, is a martial arts expert off screen, too.

Here for a review in The New York Times 

Here for Black Dynamite official website 

Here for more on blaxploitation films with list of movie titles 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brooklyn Gets a New Independent Bookstore in Ft. Greene

Photo above:  BEFORE

Photo above: AFTER

DOG STAR enjoys the Ft. Greene area of Brooklyn.  We are often in the neighborhood for events at Brooklyn Academy of Music or hanging out with friends in the park.  Now, this end of Brooklyn gets its very own independent bookstore (means it is not part of one of the national chains like Barnes & Noble or Borders).

Stop by and check out the new place!  Maybe the owners will consider hosting an open mic night for teen poets?  Is there a DOG STAR reader out there who will find out and make it happen?

Greenlight Bookstore
686 Fulton Street at S. Portland Street

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have you ever been to the Village Halloween Parade? Halloween is on a Saturday this year!

DOG STAR marched in this parade in a costume that is better forgotten (we're never going to tell you what it is - but it wasn't a good one, anyway!)  Along Sixth Avenue from Spring Street and north to 23rd Street, parade-goers assemble and when the weather is pleasant a whole lot of people come out to the village in costume for a good time.

Consider going to the parade THIS WEEKEND and bring your cameras!

Here for link to parade website 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dia de los Muertos on Fifth Avenue THIS WEEKEND!

DOG STAR admits it:  we never heard of "Day of the Dead" until we moved to NYC.  Seeing displays of sugar mask skeleton heads with brightly decorated flowers just seemed like an odd way to celebrate Halloween.

Of course, Day of the Dead ("Dia de los Muertos") is not Halloween or even, really, related to it at all.

Uptown, on Fifth Avenue, El Museo del Barrio will sponsor an all-day celebration with mask-making, a street procession and performances.  All FREE!


It is a holiday (or festival) which is celebrated in Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, and other areas in Central and South America populated with the Latino ethnic background

The Day of the Dead is also celebrated in areas of the United States, such as California, Texas, and many others, in which the Mexican/American heritage exists.

November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, although it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. These dates correspond with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

This correspondence results from the Catholic Church's efforts to "find similarities between the indigenous and Christian beliefs." This celebration has a complex history that has been transformed through the years.

Although this celebration is associated with the dead, it is not portrayed as a morbid or depressing time, but rather a period full of life, happiness, color, food, family, and fun. There is excitement everywhere. In many areas, outdoor markets are displayed in which they sell many symbolic goods, such as special breads, flowers, pottery, baskets, candles, paper puppets, candy skulls, etc.

The main symbols of this holiday are skulls and skeletons, which are displayed throughout the cities. Scenes of skeletons hugging, marching, dancing, and laughing are seen in window displays on the streets. Marigolds are another significant symbol for the Day of the Dead festivity, and are known as the "flower of the dead." Their scent is believed to "attract the souls and draw them back."

People celebrate this holiday in their households, as well as in the cemeteries. In their homes, between Oct. 31st and Nov. 2nd (a time called "Todos Santos"), offerings of food and drink are prepared for the dead. "Ofrendas" (offerings) are often set up in the home on an altar displaying portraits, personal goods, clothing, favorite foods, and possessions of the deceased family member.

Sometimes they are shown at the gravesites as well. On Nov. 2nd, family members visit the gravesites of their loved ones. They decorate their graves with flowers, enjoy picnics consisting of favorite foods of the deceased, and socially interact with others at the cemetery. This is an important social ritual that the Latino people see as "a way of recognizing the cycle of life and death that is human existence." In certain areas, an all-night candlelight vigil takes place by the graves of the family members.

The whole occasion is festive, and everyone talks of the dead as if they were still alive. During this time, people "remember, re-live, and enjoy."

This holiday is believed to "welcome the souls of the dead." The souls are said to return each year to enjoy the pleasures that they once had in life. They are thought to return to be with their living relatives for a few brief hours each year in this world, but come as spirits who have returned from another world. A widely held belief is that the souls of the children ("angelitos") return first, and food and gifts appropriate for their age and taste will be set out for them. 

Everything is in miniature: cups, plates, small breads, etc. The adult dead are said to return on Nov. 1st and they are given the most elaborate foods and drinks the family can afford. It is believed that the candle light, as well as the scents of the marigold flowers and the copal incense, help the returning souls find their way back. Sometimes paths of marigold petals are scattered by the family from the cemetery to the door of the house. The ghosts can find their way by following this yellow path. The ghosts (or spirits) are not usually seen, but their presence is felt.

Today, the Day of the Dead is a cherished, complex holiday celebration where death is seen as life. The common principle for this holiday is "whatever pleased the dead in life they are to have again." It is a holiday when the whole family comes together - both living and dead. This holiday festivity is believed to be a time for the departed to join the living in the celebrations of the "continuum of life."

Here for link to El Museo del Barrio's free events

A New York Times article on Day of the Dead feasts 

Link to MexOnline - information on Day of the Dead in Mexico

Day of the Dead on Wikipedia 

Monday, October 26, 2009

FREE! Latin American Film Festival for Short Films at NYU

DOG STAR knows - and DOG STAR readers know - that NOT every good film gets the big budget marketing and wide theatrical release of a "Toy Story in 3D."  Sometimes smaller films - the ones made with a smaller budget and play in smaller venues - are worth seeing and need an audience.

The sixth annual Corto Circuito/Short Cuts film festival opens with "Top Shelf Films," a slection of eight shorts that have won awards at important festivals.

Thursday, October 29 at 7pm through Saturday
NYU's King Juan Carlos I Center
53 Washington Square South
(just along the park)

Here for more information

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More CHEAP Haunted House Scares

DOG STAR has more information on haunted house options.
Getting your scare on at a haunted house in the New York area can be costly. Some of the more tech-heavy venues have entrance fees of up to $30. For that price you might as well stay in with a bag of candy corn and watch“Halloween.” (The original, of course.)
But there are less expensive and more theatrical Halloween-themed options, many for $20 and under, that will help you get your heebee-jeebies in the flesh. Here are just a few. If you know of others, post them here.
“Sundays With Poe”
Under St. Marks
Oct. 25

Kraine Theater
Oct. 31
RadioTheater, a company of audio craftsmen who recreate classic stories live on stage, radio-style, are offering two modern takes on Halloween icons — Edgar Allen Poe and Frankenstein — with live performances of original scores and eerie sound effects.

Blood BrothersNosedive ProductionsA scene from “The Blood Brothers Present . . . The New Guignol.”

“The Blood Brothers Present . . . The New Guignol”
Brick Theater, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Through Oct. 31
This night of plays by Danny Bowes, James Comtois and Mac Rogers is performed in the style of the classic French Grand Guignol. Think bald guys with creepy smiles, red lips and cheap suits.
The company’s Web site offers some creepy videos that demonstrate the neo-Guignol vibe.
“Haunted House”
Sanford Meisner Theater
Through Oct. 31
“Nightmare: Vampires”
NoHo Event Center
Through Nov. 7
In “Nightmare: Vampires,” downtown horror-master Timothy Haskell offers a traditional haunted house with lots of gotchas around each corner. The Vortex Theater Company’s “Haunted House” is experienced — ready for this? — one person at a time.
Neil Genzlinger offers reviews of both, with a slide show. of photos.
“The Pumpkin Pie Show”
Through Oct. 31
Under St. Marks, East Village;
A Halloween tradition for over a decade, “The Pumpkin Pie Show” is a night of storytelling with a macabre twist. This year’s installment is about three women, each played by Hanna Cheek, drawn together after a high school shooting.
Jason Zinoman, in his review of last year’s “Pumpking Pie Show,” wrote that the evening offered “gripping, often unnerving short plays rooted in classic gothic literature.”
“The Diary of Anne Frankenstein”
Through Nov. 8
13th Street Theater
This re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic, set in an attic of an abandoned genetic laboratory in Bavaria in 1945, is about “a lowly hermaphroditic Franken-girl with big dreams and an even bigger diary,” according to press materials.
Anne is played by Mimi Imfurst, the drag persona of Braden Chapman, an equal opportunity offender of religious sensibilities who last year raised the ire of some Catholics with his holiday show “Oh Holy [expletive], It’s Christmas!”

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Haunted House on Lower East Side

DOG STAR mostly chose this haunted house because it is affordable for teens.  Seems like every neighborhood has spawned a haunted house - there is even something called Nightmare Vampires in SoHo.
The Haunted House is FOUR DAYS ONLY in the week leading up to Halloween.  It uses space at Henry Street Settlement that is not usually part of any performance - means the audience will travel into dark cellars and scary caverns under the street.
October 28 & 29 | 6-9:30 pm
October 30 & 31 | 8-11:30 pm

Steampunk Haunted House
Enter an immersive world of churning gears, mechanical monstrosities, and steam-powered cyborgs in NYC’s newest haunted house. Created by contemporary performance and installation artists, the Steampunk Haunted House sprawls throughout the Abrons’ century-old Playhouse for a terrifying, visually stunning experience. Conceived and created by BESSIE Award winner Zach Morris, in collaboration with Jesse Green, Liz Sargent, Barry Weil, Kryssy Wright, and the Abrons’ Urban Youth Theater. No one under 8 years old admitted.
Steampunk Haunted House is proudly sponsored by Halloween Adventure.
Wednesday & Thursday: $20 | $10 students
Friday & Saturday: $25 | $10 students

Friday, October 23, 2009

Check out CLUB FREE TIME for more free things to do in NYC!

A devoted DOG STAR reader has passed along another resource for free things to do in NYC.  It is impossible to cover everything - consider CLUB FREE TIME (click here) as just one more of your sources for performances, readings, music and activities around the city.

FREE! Discover this waterfront park in Astoria, Queens! N train To Broadway!

DOG STAR sat on the rocks here last weekend and looked out over the East River thinking about...well, it was private, okay?  We're not going to tell you what we were thinking about at that very moment.  LOL!

Socrates Sculpture Park always has a few surprises.  This FREE city park features original sculpture made for the site and it changes a few times each year.  Right now there is an unusual subway entrance (it's one of the sculptures) and a wild, wooden walkway through a grove of trees.  You have to visit to get the idea.

The entrance is shown in the photo above - a billboard by the artist Stephen Shore.  This weekend the Park will host a performance of "the Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (it was also a Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp).

Invite friends and family to visit the park - especially if it is a sunny day.  A visit here can be paired with a visit to Isamu Noguchi Museum - it's only two blocks away!  (Scroll down for an earlier post on Noguchi.)

Here for link to Socrates Sculpture Park 

Here for link to the Red Door Theater Company 

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I am convinced the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.

L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)

FREE! See SLASH on a Thursday night - You'll never look at paper the same way again!

DOG STAR knows our readers like to see something fresh, something unique and something different.  Sometimes we have to go to new places to see what's fresh.  If you haven't stopped by MAD (Museum of Art & Design), you've missed a great, new gallery in the city.

Fortunately, they have a show on until next year called SLASH:  Paper Under the Knife.  DOG STAR was never any good at making paper airplanes.  Origami is completely lost on us.  So, to see what artists have done with paper in this show is just amazing.  Fifty two artists come from around the world and some projects have been made just for this special show.

At least watch the video from the museum's director to get a preview of the show (see link below!)

This is the museum building at Columbus Circle - 59th Street!

EASY TO REACH AND IT'S FREE ON THURSDAYS - Well, it's "pay-what-you wish" which means you walk up to  the cashier, hand a dollar and say, "Two please"

DOG STAR TIP FOR A CHEAP DATE:  Pick a Thursday and go see SLASH at Museum of Art & Design (open for pay what you wish from 6-9pm) and then walk across the street to the Time Warner Center and go to the 5th floor of Jazz at Lincoln Center for the free photography show, open until 11pm!

DOG STAR is not encouraging late night dates on a school night - but your family could meet you and you could all go home together or go downstairs in the Time Warner Center for Whole Foods Cafe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tickets only $5 to see "American Kamikaze"

American Kamikaze
Delving into the worlds of Japanese ghost stories and "J-Horror," American Kamikaze is a theater and cinema hybrid of vengeful spirits and doppelgangers, impossible physical manipulations, elliptical storylines, creepy sound designs, equally creepy cinematography, bizarrely happy endings -- and even the saccharine pop songs. Visit for more!

Sat., Oct. 24 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 25 @ 5:30 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 28 @ 7:30 p.m.

PS 122

150 1st Ave., Manhattan

F to 2nd Ave.; N or R to 8th St.; 6 to Astor Pl.


Tickets only $5 to see "A Boy & His Soul" - Must see musical for teens!

A Boy And His Soul

Where do you get soul? From the kitchen rotary phone cord your sister stretched out nine feet? From never learning the real secrets of your crazy cousin until you were older? From the broken Easy Bake oven your brother used to torment your sister’s Barbie dolls? Or from the memory of watching your parents sell the house you grew up in?

Maybe you get soul from listening to the music on WDAS FM with your mother in the backyard at midnight on a hot summer evening. From Stevie, Aretha, Marvin, Chaka, Barry, Gladys…and Colman.
Come groove into 1970’s West Philly at Vineyard Theatre and discover the "captivating" (Newsday) new play by Colman Domingo, of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Passing Strange!

DOG STAR saw this show last week and knows our readers will love it, too!  High 5 has $5 tickets (and 6 for $25) but you must act fast!  High 5 tickets are for the performance Sat., Oct. 24 @ 3:00 p.m.  If tickets cannot be found you can check back - new tickets are relased every day to High 5.  If you get your family involved, you might just get tickets from the Vineyeard Theater box office!

Visit for more!
Vineyard Theatre

108 E. 15th St. (bet. 4th @ Irving Pl.), Manhattan

N, R, W, Q, 4, 5, 6, or L train to 14th St./Union Sq.

FREE! Check out authors and their new books at these events coming up at Union Square Barnes & Noble!

Barnes & Noble Union Square is on East 17th Street between park Avenue South and Broadway - Take any subway line to 14th Street station and walk to north side of the park

DOG STAR can confidently recommend ALL of these authors:  if any of them are new to you do some research online and see what comes up.  You may be surprised to discover a greta new writer!  Don't worry about not buying the book when you go - go anyway to enjoy the smart and funny conversation!
Tracy Morgan you may know from Saturday Night Live.  He'll be funny, for sure!

R. Crumb is a famous cartoonist who has just come out with his illustrated version of the first book of the Bible.

Chuck Klosterman is popular with a lot of people who like to think about culture and society.

Sherman Alexie wrote the screenplay for the film SMOKE SIGNALS (here) and also the wonderful short novel FLIGHT (here).  If you CAN go - do not miss Sherman!

John Irving has written many, many novels - maybe you saw the film "Cider House Rules" with Spiderman's Toby McGuire?  It was based on an Irving novel.

Thursday, October 22 - 7pm
Tracy Morgan
I Am the New Black

Friday, October 23 - 7pm
R. Crumb with Francoise Mouly
The Book of Genesis Illustrated

Monday, October 26 - 7pm
Chuck Klosterman
Eating the Dinosaur

Tuesday, October 27 - 7pm
Sherman Alexie
War Dances

Thursday, October 29 - 7pm
John Irving
Last Night in Twisted River

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Comics

Have you been buying tickets on High 5?

DOG STAR readers like it free or cheap, right?  And the whole vision behind this blog is to find ways and places where teens can enjoy all the culture and arts available in New York City.

High 5 always deserves a regular boost:  teens can buy tickets to a wide range of performances happening all over the city for just $5!  If you have a group of friends or family, take 6 for $25!

DOG STAR readers recently scored tickets to see Lemon Andersen's "County of Kings" for $5 each this coming weekend.  Limited tickets to this show (regular ticket prices are $25-$65) are still available (click here) so don't sit around sort of thinking about it - just go!

Museum tickets are also available:


High 5's Museum passes are the best deal to be found anywhere in NYC! At just $2.50 (half the price of High 5 tix), you can explore of the paintings, sculptures, photography, installations and cultural treasures that make New York Cty Museum Country!

Please Note: H5 Museum passes are 2-for-$5 ($2.50 per pass). Museum passes can be used for a single visit 30 days from the day of your purchase. Simply submit your confirmation page (your High 5 voucher) to the front desk in exchange for entry. Report any trouble or confusion 

Available tickets for upcoming shows at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) include live music and dance (here for events at BAM - easy to reach with 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains to Atlantic Avenue).

Consider seeing live classical music - Orchestra of St. Luke's - at Carnegie Hall on West 57th Street (here for link to St. Luke's tickets on High 5! ).

Definitely register at the site so that you receive email updates about different shows and events.

Monday, October 19, 2009

FREE! See Great Photography of Jazz Performers at Lincoln Center Gallery

In the Best Possible Light: Herman Leonard's Jazz
DOG STAR knows Leonard's photography from seeing pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra from the 1950s.  Now, the Jazz at Lincoln Center gallery is presenting a special show of pictures Leonard took of famous jazz singers and musicians.

One of the great things about this show is how easy it is to see:  In the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle (60th Street & Broadway), free admission and EVERY DAY it is open from 6pm - 11pm!  The gallery is on the fifth floor and you can reach it by going up the elevator in the lobby at the right of the main entrance.

The picture above of DEXTER GORDON shows just how beautifully these pre-digital age photos capture the jazz club atmosphere, the performers and the passion.

In the Best Possible Light: Herman Leonard's Jazz features masterworks in black and white photography by Herman Leonard, whose pictures of jazz icons Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Thelonious Monk - among many others - make him the dean of jazz photographers. This exhibition of Herman Leonard's jazz pictures honors a great photographer and some of the most beautiful photographs ever taken. "I want to show jazz artists in the best possible light," says Leonard, "to tell their truth but to tell it in terms of beauty."

October 16, 2009 - February 14, 2010

Peter Jay Sharp Arcade, 5th floor, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Admission: The exhibit is FREE and open to the public, Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm and 6pm-11pm, and Monday 6pm-11pm.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: Before the movie it was a book - see original drawings at the Morgan!

DOG STAR remembers the book "Where the Wild Things Are" from trips to the only library in our small village upstate.  The new film - wonderful, low-key, emotionally satisfying and highly relatable and smart (DOG STAR office staff saw it this week!) - is not just based on the book but it expands on it and still keeps it magical.

Maurice Sendak wrote and illustrated the original book over forty years ago.  Now the Morgan Library has the original drawings on view in their gallery.

Picture above is the EXTERIOR of the Morgan Library and bottom pic is part of the INTERIOR.

A little about the Morgan:  Before Trump and Bill Gates, J.P. Morgan was an international businessman and a tycoon who spent enormous amounts of money on beautiful things.  One of them was a personal library with an office for his own librarian.  That way he could have some peace and quiet, host guests in a private library and look at his rare books and manuscripts in a proper setting.

He hired one of the most famous architects - Charles McKim - who was told "money is no object, just make it stunning."  And he did.  It was the first private residence in NYC to have electricity.  This became the Morgan Library and is now part of a small campus of buildings at Madison Avenue and 36th Street.  Here to see pictures of the library you can still visit today!

DOG STAR readers like to see it for free:  Friday nights from 7pm-9pm - 36th & Madison.  Any subway to 34th Street and walk north on Madison to 36th Street.

Original artwork by Maurice Sendak is also on view right now at Animazing Gallery in SoHo (click here for link) - free to visit at 54 Greene Street

Here for Morgan Library website 

Here for video interview with Maurice Sendak 

Here for more about Maurice Sendak 

Here for more about J.P. Morgan 

Here for more about the architect Charles McKim 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Self-Portrait by Photographer Alberto Vargas

Photo above:  Self-portrait by photographer Alberto Vargas

Click on photo to see it larger

A few comments about what to notice in this photo:
  • Stunning light from the right, off camera
  • Shape of the lamp in the far right, back corner is shape of bowl behind Alberto
  • Light on Alberto's face also casts light on the sofa and the pillows to make it all glow
  • From the leg of the sofa to the top of Alberto's head forms a solid bulky point that distorts the true dimensions of the rest of the sofa and the living room by making them appear so much smaller
  • The shadow behind Alberto's leg on the floor is parallel to the leg of the sofa (also has a shadow)
  • Mint green walls are garden and Alberto on the brown sofa is earth

FREE! See "House of Fire" and find out how one artist expresses deep family pain

DOG STAR was really surprised at how quietly shocking this show is:  "quietly" because it does not jump out at you like vampires and ghouls and shocking because when you know the story behind the work it is chilling and disturbing.

The story is almost too terrible to believe. In 1956, Velma Orlikow, the grandmother of Canadian artist Sarah Anne Johnson, entered a mental hospital in Montreal to be treated for postpartum depression. 

Postpartum depression sometimes occurs in women who have just given birth.  It is not unusual and should have been a very straight-forward treatment.  (More here on this illness)

Instead, she suffered torture at the hands of her doctor, who worked for a CIA-funded program exploring new methods for mind control.

At the center of Johnson's third solo exhibition, House on Fire, which includes sculptures, paintings, and photography, is a large, elaborate three-story dollhouse that she built by hand (photo above). Outside, the house looks normal, but inside, it is full of surreal scenes and dark figurines that evoke her grandmother's nightmare. It's haunting, disturbing, and downright brilliant.

The exhibit also includes small and powerful bronze sculptures.

House of Fire is at the Julie Saul Gallery (535 West 22nd Street)

Here for the link to the art gallery 

Friday, October 16, 2009

OFFENSIVE PLAY: How different are football and dogfighting?

This week's issue of The New Yorker magazine features a fascinating piece by Malcom Gladwell on the this question:   How different are football and dogfighting?

Malcom also participated in a Chat Forum on the article and the transcript is also on the New Yorker website.  In addition there is an audio slide show. In this audio slide show, Gladwell discusses the traumatic brain injuries suffered by football linemen and other ex-athletes, and the inherent dangers of contact sports.

Here for Malcom's article on football / dogfighting

Here for the Q & A between Malcom and some readers of the magazine
Here for the audio slideshow

FREE! Met Museum open until 9pm on Fri & Sat nights: See Robert Frank Photographs this weekend!

DOG STAR saw the Robert Frank show in D.C. last Spring.  It has landed in New York City at the Met and since it will be raining all weekend, send a text to a few friends to meet you on the steps at 81st Street and Fifth Avenue.  Remember, go into the museum through the doors at ground level at left of the grand staircase.  Inside you'll find a coat check and a ticket desk.

Pay only ONE DOLLAR no matter how many people are with you:  Say, "Four, please" and hand the cashier ONE DOLLAR!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FREE! Meet Photographer Henry Horenstein at Clic Gallery this Saturday!

DOG STAR favors the ANIMALIA photos of Henry Horenstein and now we get a chance to meet Henry at Clic Gallery this weekend.

Easy to reach:  take any train to Canal Street and walk north on Centre Street to Broome.

Saturday, October 17, 2008 3-5pm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FREE! Have you ever been to a modern sculpture garden? (Isamu Noguchi Museum & Sculpture Garden in Queens)

In the photo above, you can see into the sculpture garden from a second floor window of the gallery.

This is a very peaceful place to visit, especially on a Sunday afternoon.

DOG STAR is a huge fan of Isamu Noguchi and we try to get to this small museum and sculpture garden at least twice a year.  Although many of the sculptures are on view year-round, there is always something fresh to discover.

Isamu is the son of a white mother and a Japanese father.  He grew up first in Japan and then in Kansas.  While still a teenager his mother sent him to New York City to take art classes.  He did well and showed his talent in traditional sculpture and painting.  He wanted something more.  He wasn't so interested in doing what everyone else was making or painting.  He wanted to get back in touch with his roots.  He started to make his own shapes and carved wood and stone to make sculptures.

Noguchi is easy to reach:  A few subway lines get you into the Long Island City area.  If you are not familiar with this area, you'll have fun exploring a new part of New York City.  The museum is across the street from a terrific waterfront sculpture park called Socrates Sculpture Park.  Directions here! 

This museum is ALWAYS FREE for high school students.

Here for Isamu Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens 

Here for the YouTube video tour of Noguchi Museum 

Here for New York Times story on single-person museums 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lemon Andersen at the Public Theater: Go Now Before He Really Blows Up & Say You Saw Him Live!

DOG STAR knows you like good theater.  Lemon Andersen's new show in not good theater; it's GREAT theater.  We have posted about Lemon before but want to spread the word again after his show "County of Kings" received glowing reviews today in The New York Times and The New York Post.  A profile also runs in today's Daily News.

Lemon started making it big when he appeared both on Broadway and on television on Def Poetry Jam.

We first saw "County of Kings" in a rougher version back in January at the Public Theater where it has now opened in a tighter, fresher show for just a few more weeks.  You heard it hear first:  this is a hot ticket!

When we went to the Daily News site to give you the link to the profile, we discovered a trailer for an upcoming documentary called "Lemon."  It is a nice surprise - and a good introduction to Lemon - since he recalls a family outing to Coney Island that he describes in the show, too.

Public Theater is just a block south of Astor Place in the East Village.  Tell your friends and family about Lemon's show and find out for yourself why he is getting the props he deserves.

Here for the link to the Public Theater for tickets 

Here for the movie trailer and profile in the Daily News 

Here for today's review of Lemon's show in The New York Times 

Here for a profile in The New York Times two weeks ago 

Here for today's review of Lemon's show in The New York Post 

Here for link to Dandelion Films to see more on Lemon's film 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Maybe you CAN make more time to read a book? The Read All Day project is one place to start for titles and authors!

DOG STAR likes to read - right now reading Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety about the constant craving humans have to get ahead in our society - but Nina Sankovitch is a different kind of reader.  She reads every day.  She reads a WHOLE book EVERY DAY!

Nina has been reading ONE book each day for nearly a year.  It is a year-long project she gave to herself (some DOG STAR readers have their hands up already, "Is she getting paid for this?") and she writes a blog entry the next morning for each book.

DOG STAR readers can check out her list of authors, read the reviews, randomly choose one of Nina's favorites...Maybe you CAN make more time to read a book!  (Start small - one book a month?)

Here for Nina's site READ ALL DAY 

Here for the story in today's New York Times 


Dreams are the bright creatures of poem and legend, who sport on earth in the night season, and melt away with the first beam of the sun, which lights grim care and stern reality on their daily pilgrimage through the world.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

FREE! See how design is part of our everyday life!

DOG STAR enjoys good design:  the unique bicycle racks showing up around the city, architecture, of course, and also the every day products we use can have a smart and fresh design, too.

Target Stores began a program years ago to bring top product designers to the general public.  Michael Graves - mostly an architect known for his quirky Disney building - has been designing household products for Target for many years now.

Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (Fifth Avenue and 90th Street) will feature ten years of design in our every day life with a week of FREE ADMISSION.

This is a great opportunity to visit the Cooper Hewitt, especially if you have never been there before.  It is housed in one of those old grand Fifth Avenue mansions, once the home of Andrew Carnegie (here for more on the building).

National Design Week

October 18-24, 2009

Museum open EVERY DAY until 5pm!

FREE ADMISSION during National Design Week program.

Easy to reach:  4, 5, 6 trains to 86th St or 96th St then walk west to Fifth Avenue and 90th Street

A beautiful garden along the side of the building means even as it gets cooler outside you'll have  a shade place to relax, sketch and talk with friends during and after your tour of the show!

Here for the website for Cooper Hewitt 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Q-Tip feat Norah Jones - Life is Better (Video)

Q-Tip’s latest video premier comes not a second too late. This one is off 2008’s most distinguished Hip Hop albums, The Renaissance. The crossover track features vocals from the very talented Grammy award winning Norah Jones – and is just one of the few Hip Hop collaborations she ever does. The video, fittingly, goes along with song's theme. Very animation-driven and abstract, and created by video director Goodtimes. Check it out here!