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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

Monday, May 31, 2010

21Quest Performs at Recent Spoken Word Event!

DOG STAR is running a caption contest!

Although the pics of 21Quest are from a spoken word event, your funny captions can SPEAK ANOTHER SUBJECT!

Send us your funny captions for the pics and we will print them!

Make it clever and keep it clean!

Our World Loses Another Artist Soul: Louise Bourgeois Died Today at Age 98

DOG STAR is a long time fan and admirer of French-born Louise Bourgeois.

She created thoughtful, mysterious and inspiring work.

Here for Louise feature on PBS with slideshow, video, essays

Here for New York Times obituary

One of the best ways to learn about Louise is the recent documentary here

MEMORIAL DAY! Remember the women and men who lost their lives fighting for our country!

DOG STAR remembers leaving the supermarket as a child and a very old man with white hair, a cane and a handful of plastic red poppies sold them for a quarter.  My mother told me the poppies are for remembering American war dead on Memorial Day and the money goes to the local veteran's office.

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for poppies in the days leading up to Memorial Day; the poppy's significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae poem "In Flanders Fields."

Whatever one's personal political beliefs - all can be set aside in favor of honoring those who have lost their lives in the service of the nation.

Here for a history of Memorial Day

Here for a background on the poem "In Flanders Fields"


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

NewFest Begins Next Week: LGBTQ films for Pride Month Celebrates Human Diversity!

DOG STAR has long supported LGBTQ rights, programs and activities and we are proud to spread the word about NewFest - the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer film and video festival held at SVA Theater on West 23rd Street in Chelsea.

The photo above and the video below are from the new film "Children of God" by director Kareem Mortimer.

Filmed in the breathtaking Bahamian islands, this love story is a grounbreaking look at the lives of three very differnt people- a young gay artist, a closeted musician and a conservative pastor's embittered wife- and the ramifications of living in a homophobic and violently repressive nation.

Here for NewFest website

Here for Children of God website

Here for news story on homophobia and gay tourism in Bahamas

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Actor Dennis Hopper died this morning; star of film "Easy Rider" and a favorite Dog Star photographer

DOG STAR is saddened by the news that Dennis Hopper has died this morning at age 74.  Full story at CNN here.

In our film class we show "Easy Rider" which Hopper co-directed with Peter Fonda - the film features a messy and meandering motorcycle joy ride through some rough terrain in America (both real, political and emotional).  Jack Nicholson shows up, briefly, for the cross-country trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

He appeared in so many different kinds of films that he once told Larry King that, "Somewhere in my strange career, someone has liked something."

Yusef Komunyakaa Reads Poem "Facing It" - Link to full text of poem below

DOG STAR knows Yusef and to see / hear him read this poem live in person is always a special treat.  The timbre of Yusef's voice adds gravitas and the pacing of the spoken language slowly builds the effect to make it powerfully sad and insightful at the same time.  An incredible subtle and poignant meditation on mortality and "moving on" after violence or tragedy.

Here for full text of poem "Facing It"

Friday, May 28, 2010

LIGHT UP - Dog Star bumps to new track by Drake featuring Jay Z (New album out soon!)

One of Drake’s most anticipated records to date finally makes its grand debut today. The record features Jay-Z and highlights yet another impressive feature alongside the Toronto-based emcee. You’ll find this on the upcoming Thank Me Later album due out June 15th. In the meantime, you can check it out below!

Drake Featuring Jay-Z - Light Up by Hypetrak

POWER - Dog Star bumps to new track from Kanye West & Dwele (You got the power!)

Following up where they left off after their successful hit Flashing Lights, Kanye West makes his return to music with a new intriguing record featuring Dwele. You’ll find this on his highly anticipated album due out later this year and available on iTunes June 8th.
Kanye West featuring Dwele - Power by Hypetrak

Field Trip Snapshots: Recent trip to Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn

DOG STAR is proud to present a small selection of photos by Claudio Tarallo from our recent field trip to Nassau County Museum of Art.

All of the photos are sculptures permanently installed on the grounds of the museum.  The bronze figures sitting on a bag of money is called EASY MONEY by Brooklyn-based artist Tom Otterness.

The colorful multi-headed snake sculpture is called SNAKE TREE by the French sculptor Nikki de St. Phalle

One photo shows a view toward the former estate mansion that houses the museum building now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Who knows what true loneliness is—not the conventional word, but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion. Now and then a fatal conjunction of events may lift the veil for an instant. For an instant only. No human being could bear a steady view of moral solitude without going mad.
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

New iSketch prints from Jorge Columbo!


Here for link to more

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ALMOST FREE! All-night museum admission at Whitney Museum for Biennial!

DOG STAR is excited to announce the Whitney's special program - especially for teens who stay up late and it's ALMOST FREE!

For three days teh Whitney Museum will be open 24/7!  See YELLOW BOX BELOW for Pay-What-You-Wish - which means you can pay $1.00 for you and five friends (or any combo!).


From Wednesday, May 26 at 12 am through Friday, May 28 at 11:59 pm, the Museum will remain open for three consecutive days as part of 2010 artist Michael Asher’s Biennial project.  
Michael Asher’s initial proposal for the Whitney Biennial was to have the exhibition open continuously to the public twenty-four hours a day for one week (Monday, May 24 through Sunday, May 30).
Due to budgetary and human resources limitations, the Museum is unable to remain open to the public twenty-four hours a day for one week. As a result, the duration of this work has been shortened from the artist’s original proposal.


From 12 am on Wednesday, May 26
to 9 am on Thursday, May 27
From 11 pm on Thursday, May 27
to 9 am on Friday, May 28
From 6 pm to 11:59 pm on Friday, May 28
Regular admission prices are in effect for all other hours. For more information and travel directions, see the Visitpage.

Monday, May 24, 2010

APPPLY NOW! Summer Program for Teens at Guggenheim Museum for Creative Arts

DOG STAR is excited to announce this summer opportunity for teens interested in exploring creative writing in the visual arts.

We've had students take these Guggenheim programs and they really like the work space, visits to the museum (upstairs from the classroom) and the one-on-one work with the instructor.  Plus, it's always fun to meet students from a different high school.

Of course, college-bound juniors will want a summer experience for their college applications!


Aug 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, and 12, 1–4 pm. Optional additional open writing studio/instructor office hours: Aug 9 and 10, 10 am–12:30 pm

This six-session summer course invites teens to explore contemporary photography and respond to works featured in the exhibition 
Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance through in-depth group conversations, sketching, and creative writing, facilitated by a professional writer and museum educator.
The students will develop a portfolio of drawings and creative writing over the course of the six sessions. Students will pick one or two of their writing entries to revise and “publish” in a chapbook with a reproduction of the artwork that inspired them.
On the final day of the course, family and friends are invited to the Guggenheim for a reading, featuring work written by the teens.  

Fee: $200. Financial assistance available upon request. The application process is selective. Download the 
Teen Program Application Form.
For more information on our Teen Programs, please email

More FREE concerts at Rockefeller Plaza for Today Show!

DOG STAR WILL be there for Justin and Katy Perry!

This summer, once again, The Today Show and Good Morning America are battling for your attention by sponsoring free summer concert series featuring big-name artists in New York City.

The good news: Free concerts featuring a wide range of artists including Lady Gaga, Sting, the latest American Idol winner , Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, and many more.
The bad news: You have to get up really early. Shows start at 7:00 A.M.

The 2010 Today Show Summer Concert Series will take place Friday mornings (and on some special additional dates as indicated in the schedule below) on the plaza at 
Rockefeller Center (between 49th and 50th St. near 5th Ave.). The Friday shows start at 7:00 A.M., but plan to arrive no later than 6:00 A.M. if you want a decent view. Viewing is on a first-come, first-served basis.

2010 NBC Today Show Free Summer Concert Schedule
FRIDAY, MAY 14, 7:00 A.M.– Sting
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 7:00 A.M.– The Script
THURSDAY, MAY 27, 7:00 A.M.– American Idol Winner and Runner-Up
FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 7:00 A.M. – Justin Bieber
TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 7:00 A.M.– Christina Aguilera
FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 7:00 A.M. – Rascal Flatts
FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 7:00 A.M. – James Taylor and Carol King
FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 7:00 A.M.– Maxwell
FRIDAY, JULY 2, 7:00 A.M. – Maroon 5
FRIDAY, JULY 9, 7:00 A.M. – Lady Gaga
FRIDAY, JULY 16, 7:00 A.M. – Enrique Iglesias
FRIDAY, JULY 23, 7:00 A.M. – John Mayer
FRIDAY, JULY 30, 7:00 A.M.– Carrie Underwood
FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, 7:00 A.M. – Train
FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, 7:00 A.M. – KeSha
FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 7:00 A.M. – Keith Urban
FRIDAY, AUGUST 27, 7:00 A.M. – Katy Perry

Sunday, May 23, 2010

FREE! Good Morning America Summer Concert Series in Central Park

DOG STAR knows a few devoted DOG STAR readers will appreciate this schedule!  If you didn't already know about Jonas Brothers on May 21, we're sorry!

Viewers interested in joining "GMA" in Central Park are encouraged to arrive at Summerstage Rumsey Playfield via the 72nd Street entrance on Fifth Avenue at 6 a.m., when the park opens to the public.

All concerts are free and open to the public and will take place live during "Good Morning America," Fridays from 7 to 9 a.m. ET. Additional dates and acts will be announced throughout the summer. Concerts scheduled-to-date include the following:
May 21 -- Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, Camp Rock 2
May 28 -- Sugarland
June 4 -- Diddy-- Dirty Money
June 11 -- 
Norah Jones and Sarah McLachlan
June 18 -- Miley Cyrus
June 25 -- Alicia Keys
July 2 -- 
Mary J. Blige
July 9 – To Be Announced
July 16 – The GO-GO'S
July 23 -- 
Sheryl Crow
July 30 -- Black Eyed Peas
Aug. 6 -- To Be Announced
Aug. 13 -- Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, Camp Rock 2
Aug. 20 -- Rihanna
August 27 -- Lady Antebellum

Saturday, May 22, 2010

FREE! Nice weather calls for a trip to Manhattan's west side High Line Park

DOG STAR took a field trip this week to The High Line with a few students from our class.  It is part of our City Arts Encounters Program in which we visit a public site weekly for sketching, poetry, painting and guest speakers.  We were met on the High Line Park by a very famous Brooklyn rapper who asked not to be named - a hint:  a traffic lane is named for him!

Here for High Line

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lies My Eyes Told Me

(Above) Are these red circles painted on the photograph? Looks like it to me.

THE FACT IS, these red circles are painted on the house, and their visualization as red circles only come together at the exact spot one would stand in the top photograph. To move away, even slightly, changes what you see dramatically.

See more about this artist, Felice Varini here.

DOG STAR credits the blog Accidental Mysteries (here) for this post - check it out!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poet's Voice: Gabrielle Calvocoressi's "Graves We Filled Before the Fire"

Graves We Filled Before the Fire
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Some lose children in lonelier ways:
tetanus, hard falls, stubborn fevers

that soak the bedclothes five nights running.
Our two boys went out to skate, broke

through the ice like battleships, came back
to us in canvas bags: curled

fossils held fast in ancient stone,
four hands reaching. Then two

sad beds wide enough for planting
wheat or summer-squash but filled

with boys, a barren crop. Our lives
stripped clean as oxen bones.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spread the Word! Summer Youth Employment Program

Please pass the word ……. the deadline to apply for the 2010 Summer Youth Employment Program is Friday, May 21st.

The program is open to all New York City residents, ages 14 through 24. Their employment will run from July 6th through August 21st.
Interested youth should apply online at Applicants will be chosen by lottery and notified if selected.
For further information call DYCD at 1(800) 246-4646 or 311. As always, feel free to call my Community Service Office for assistance at (718) 434-0446.

FREE! Theater for One: New Times Square Show to Feature a Single Performer and a Single Audience Member Both Sitting in a Small Booth

DOG STAR remembers the "old" Times Square:  Just a decade ago the area was shabby and dirty.  Disney had already moved in but there were still rows of theaters playing "adult" movies and kung fu flicks.

Years before that the block of 42nd Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue (near Port Authority Bus Terminal) was filled with drug pushers, addicts, prostitutes and petty thieves.

Well, we live in a different city now (better?) and Christine Jones has come up with a free performance piece called Theater for One.

A booth in Times Square will feature just two people:  a seat for an audience member and the performer.

Here for the website

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FREE! Fleet Week May 26-June 2 at Intrepid and on the Streets!

Thousands of men and women from the US Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard will touch down on dry land during Fleet Week, a New York City tradition since 1984. The public can tour ships docked at Pier 88 in Manhattan and in Staten Island, view military demonstrations and enjoy musical performances from the sailors and marines themselves

Monday, May 17, 2010

FREE! Looking Ahead! Al Pacino to Star in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" this Summer in Central Park

DOG STAR has been going to Shakespeare in the Park for a long time and once saw Morgan Freeman and Tracy Ullman in "Taming of the Shrew."  Good stuff!  Always fun!

This summer Al Pacino will star - most likely as Shylock  - "Merchant of Venice" - an odd Shakespeare play if there was one but his star power will make it not only watchable but enjoyable!


June 9 - August 1
Performed in repertory for 8 continuous weeks 

THE WINTER'S TALE Directed by Michael Greif
With Gerry Bamman, Francois Battiste, Linda Emond, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Bill Heck, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Byron Jennings, Heather Lind, Hamish Linklater, Jesse L. Martin, Nyambi Nyambi, Matthew Rauch, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Richard Topol, Max Wright

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Directed by Daniel Sullivan
With Gerry Bamman, Francois Battiste, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Bill Heck, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Byron Jennings, Heather Lind, Hamish Linklater, Jesse L. Martin, Nyambi Nyambi, Al Pacino, Lily Rabe, Matthew Rauch, Richard Topol, Max Wright


Sunday, May 16, 2010

INK OF AN EYE: Jason Polan Wants to Draw Every New Yorker

DOG STAR finds Jason's project exciting and great DIY:  draw every New Yorker he can find!

We saw him profiled in the Daily news recently and wanted to spread the word about Jason.

Here for Jason's blog

Friday, May 14, 2010

Reel Works Summer Lab Now Accepting Applications for Teens Filmmaking Workshops

DOG STAR just watched a short film called "HAPPY ENDING" on NYC television.  It is a documentary made by Chris Irizarry about growing up with a drug addicted mother and father.  The show is hosted by filmmaker Byron Hurt who introduces the films and speaks with teens about what they have presented on screen.

Reel Works also sponsors a teen filmmaking program and invites middle and high school students to apply online.  It is a free program and the deadline is June 16.

Here to watch a short film made a teen in the Lab program

Here for Reel Works website

Here for Summer Lab Application

FREE! Open Now! Mark Ryden's Strange & Weird World in Paintings at Paul Kasmin Gallery

DOG STAR finds these images to be disturbing, yes, but wildly funny at the same time!

Fascinated with bunnies, beauties, bees, and meat, Mark Ryden makes magical paintings and drawings inspired by pop culture, old masters, and mythical archetypes.
A master draughtsman and impeccable painter, Ryden creates visual fantasies that are oddly populated by wide-eyed femme fatales, Abe Lincoln, Colonel Sanders, and Jesus.
A cult figure in his own right, the California-based artist counts Stephen King, Leonardo DiCaprio, Danny Elfman, Bridget Fonda, and Jake Gyllenhaal among his celebrity collectors and has designed album covers for Ringo Starr, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Butthole Surfers, and Michael Jackson.
Now Ryden is ready to take New York by storm. His whimsically titled exhibition, The Gay 90’s: Old Tyme Art Show, which features five new oil paintings and more than a dozen new drawings and preliminary sketches, opens at Paul Kasmin Gallery on April 29 and runs through June 5.
Exploring the idealism of the 1890s—filtered through the nostalgic and kitsch investigation of the period in the 1960s—Ryden has Lincoln grinding meat for an Alice in Wonderland-type lassie, Jesus playing a pink grand piano for a bevy of young blondes, and a sexy siren in a dress made from cuts of meat and sausage links in a classical garden. Enchanting and surreal, Ryden’s works entertain the eye while provoking us to consider the poetic possibilities of mining the past.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wild Images in Pre-Digital Age (No Photoshop!) Collages at Steven Kasher Gallery in Chlesea

DOG STAR has a past history of making collages, too.  As a young pup, we would clip up magazines and use the glue to arrange wild and funny masterpieces for friends and inside letters.  Of course, nobody mails letters anymore!  When was the last time your grandmother received a paper card from you?

Well, this exciting show of photography and collage will surely inspire - it's not corny and some of the images are too wild for DOG STAR to post (devoted DOG STAR would find the images tame but we have small standards to uphold!).

Why would I go see this show?  For starters, we often find the visual to be very funny - and the accidental pairing and juxtaposition of found and collected images is fun to see.

Here for the website - only until May 23!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LOSING MY COOL: Thomas Williams Challenges Ways Hip Hop Culture Creates a Dumbing Down of Youth Today

DOG STAR has posted in the past about Byron Hurt's documentary "Beyond Beats & Rhymes," which explores hip hop's demeaning images of gays and women and promotes violence.

Now, Thomas Chatterton Willams has come out with a new book that examines similar questions about black identity.  Black identity has become conflated (crushed together) with a street identity (criminal compliance, illegal conduct, anti-social behavior).

Hip Hop culture and the street mentality detracts from black dignity and the pride you can have in being black.  Hip hop culture does not create street culture but it is the glorification of street life that leads to the negative stereotypes.

LOSING MY COOL is a new non-fiction memoir/cultural critique:
Like many young men in America, Thomas Chatterton Williams grew up in awe of Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and the parade of bling-bedecked rap stars he saw on Black Entertainment Television.

Williams emulated their lifestyle - sporting chains and expensive designer clothes purchased for him by his girlfriends, who were themselves little more than accessories to Williams.

He and his friends roamed the streets, maintaining their status by intimidating passersby. In public, Williams lived the thug life exalted in his favorite rap anthems, yet at the end of the day, unlike many of his peers, Williams went home to a haven of learning and intellectualism--a safe, enriching environment filled with literature provided by Williams' father, known as "Pappy".

Here for Thomas's blog The Chatterton Review (with Facebook link, articles, bio etc.)

Here for The Root (What Obama and Drake Have to do With Hip Hop)

Thomas will read/speak JUNE 3 at Greenlight Bookstore in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn at 7:30pm

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FREE! Discover new photography by Trevor Brown at Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza

Ordinary Wonderful by Trevor Brown

March 9, 2010 - May 30, 2010
Brooklyn Public Library - Grand Army Plaza Central, Grand Lobby 
My work strips the familiarity from the everyday, challenging the things we take for granted and elevating the often overlooked.
The work's visual depth conjures an almost tactile sensation with its richness of color; depth of dark to light; and shades of yellow, browns and greens.
By using the camera lens instead of a paintbrush, I create works that rival paintings with their stunning palette of colors, textures and shapes. 
The resulting series of photographs are both intimate and alien-close-ups of urban minutia which the incurious passerby might miss.
I am a self-defined iconoclast and have a non-traditional approach to my work and the world. I think it's my lack of technical knowledge that really adds to what I capture with the camera.