Dog Star / A Creative Arts Guide






Image above: Vik Muniz

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

Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

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

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


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

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Teen C.S.I. @ Met Museum

American Murder Mystery (ages 15-18)
Friday, April 20, 5:00–6:30 p.m.
Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education Show location on map
Join a teen CSI at the MMA. Working in teams on a scavenger hunt, gather clues in the New American Wing Galleries for Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts to find out who, what, where, when, and how.  Enrollment is limited. To register, please use the online registration form.  Free, but registration is required.  Link to museum's site here.

Dog Star will encourage Hector, Daniel, Devonte, Misael, Sharon and Jady to go to the Metropolitan Museum for this exciting after-school program. Looks like there will be some kind of murder mystery in the American Wing and teams of teens will use clues to solve the murder.  Great activity for a Friday night!  Great activity to add to college applications!  Great way to meet teens from other high schools!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Vincent van Gogh!

Vincent van Gogh would celebrate 159 years today, born March 30, 1853 in Zundert, the Netherlands, later committing suicide at age 37 when he “walked into a wheat field and shot himself in the chest” and died two days later.

My Met. My Legends. (Alicia Keys)

Dog Star likes this new promotional campaign from the Metropolitan Museum (more here) featuring celebrities from many fields (sports, architecture, television) and their favorite artworks from the Met's collection.  The Met is always free for high school students and open Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays).

THREE MUST SEE Photo Exhibits this Spring

Double check to be sure an exhibit has opened before you go - and check the websites for free times and museum hours!
The Loving Story: Photographs by Grey Villet @ ICP (more here)
January 20–May 6, 2012
Forty-five years ago, sixteen states still prohibited interracial marriage. Then, in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the case of Richard Perry Loving, a white man, and his wife, Mildred Loving, a woman of African American and Native American descent, who had been arrested for miscegenation nine years earlier in Virginia. The Lovings were not active in the Civil Rights movement but their tenacious legal battle to justify their marriage changed history when the Supreme Court unanimously declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation law—and all race-based marriage bans—unconstitutional. Photographer Grey Villet, on assignment for Life magazine, traveled to Virginia, in 1965 to document the Lovings' story. His intimate photographs do not focus on the couple's epic legal battle but instead show the everyday pleasures of two shy and nonpolitical people, their quiet dedication to each other and to their family. The exhibition, organized by Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barnett, includes some twenty vintage prints loaned by the estate of Grey Villet and by the Loving family.
Weegee: Murder Is My Business @ ICP (more here)
January 20–September 2, 2012
For an intense decade between 1935 and 1946, Weegee (1899–1968) was one of the most relentlessly inventive figures in American photography. His graphically dramatic and often lurid photographs of New York crimes and news events set the standard for what has become known as tabloid journalism. Freelancing for a variety of New York newspapers and photo agencies, and later working as photo editor for the short-lived liberal daily PM (1940–48), Weegee established a way of combining photographs and texts that was distinctly different from that promoted by other picture magazines, such as Life. Utilizing other distribution venues, Weegee also wrote extensively (including his autobiographical Naked City, published in 1946) and organized his own exhibitions at the Photo League.
Cindy Sherman @ Museum of Modern Art - MoMA (more here)
February 26–June 11, 2012
Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art. Throughout her career, she has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has captured herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. To create her photographs, she assumes multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman has deftly altered her physique and surroundings to create a myriad of intriguing tableaus and characters, from screen siren to clown to aging socialite.

Keith Haring: Discover '80s Street Art King New Exhibition @ Brooklyn Museum - Bring your friends!

Dog Star knows this is a MUST SEE exhibition.  Devoted readers and teen artists will run to the Brooklyn Museum (more here) for an inspirational and uplifting art experience.  Keith Haring: 1978–1982 is the first large-scale exhibition to explore the early career of one of the best-known American artists of the twentieth century. Tracing the development of Haring’s extraordinary visual vocabulary, the exhibition includes 155 works on paper, numerous experimental videos, and over 150 archival objects, including rarely seen sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings, and documentary photographs.  The exhibition chronicles the period in Haring’s career from his arrival in New York City through the years when he started his studio practice and began making public and political art on the city streets. Immersing himself in New York’s downtown culture, he quickly became a fixture on the artistic scene, befriending other artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat (here) and Kenny Scharf (here), as well as many of the most innovative cultural figures of the period. On view from March 16–July 8, 2012. Brooklyn Museum is EASY TO REACH - take the 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum - the museum is right upstairs outside the subway station.  Teens can pay just $1 ("suggested donation" and Dog Star suggests paying $1 - really!) - Open late on Thursday nights until 10pm - great for dates with friends!
Free Teen Night Open House: Keith Haring-Inspired
Friday, April 13, 2012 at 4:45–6:45 pm
Friday, May 11, 2012 at 4:45–6:45 pm
Planned by teens, for teens, this event highlighting the exhibition Keith Haring: 1978–1982 will include live performances by teens and professionals, hands-on activities, and interactive workshops. For more information or to RSVP, call (718) 501-6588 or e-mail

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Keith Haring: The Blueprint Drawings @ Pace Gallery - Bring your friends!

Keith Haring: The Blueprint Drawings
March 21, 2012 - June 2, 2012
521 West 26th - Gallery Hours Tuesday-Friday: 10-6, Saturday: 11-6, CLOSED on Sundays - Of course, it's FREE!  For more information go here!

Pace Prints is pleased to present a unique artist’s proof of Keith Haring’s 1990 silkscreen edition, The Blueprint Drawings. On March 21, the week after Keith Haring: 1978-1982 opens at the Brooklyn Museum, this monumental scroll will be exhibited to the public for the very first time. This unique proof, from Haring’s own collection, contains all 17 images from The Blueprint Drawings, printed on one continuous sheet of paper that wraps around our 4th floor exhibition space. The 80-foot long print is generously on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation.

Brown Kid Strikes Black Kid for White Kid

Dog Star likes this video - not for the violence, of course, - but because someone actually stood up for a victim of bullying. And THIS IS A RACE moment, too. See - when it's mostly black and brown kids standing around waiting to see the white kid get his ass beat - usually OTHER black and brown kids will remain bystanders. One brown kid steps up to the plate and becomes the white boy's ALLY! This kind of "play fighting for kicks" happens every day in schools - especially middle schools (age of these kids).   Go here for the video!

Dog Star Selects the Pantheon in Rome

Go here for more on the Pantheon - built in 126 AD! - Ancient Roman swag!

Mountain Cabin for a Peaceful Way of Living

Dog Star says this house offers a peaceful way of living!  Highly desirable but can we get to The Met Museum from here?  The Foster Loop residence was designed by Balance Associates Architects and is a 1,653 square-foot, two-story cabin located in Mazama Village in the eastern part of Washington state.  The site of the project was enjoyed by the owners for many years in their camping trips. According to the architects, “the design minimizes impact to the environment by raising the residence off the ground with small concrete piers. The entry to the house is a slightly elevated walk that leads to the entry and stair. This entry opens up to a 1 1/2 story living space and kitchen which are anchored by a centrally located fireplace and the stair. This stair leads to the tent like bedrooms with low walls on the second floor. Both ends of the residence have indoor/outdoor spaces. There is also a deck and elevated catwalk that runs between the trees, across a small valley, and empties onto a grassy clearing in the woods.” 

Who the hell are you anyway?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FREE SPOKEN WORD WORKSHOP - Meet La Bruja - Bring your friends!

OH SNAP! Powerful Young Voices at Work (go here for more info)
Saturday, April 21, 2012
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Black Box Theater
Admission: Free 

Write your thoughts and drop some lines with Caridad de la Luz "La Bruja," during this month's installment of El Museo's spoken word workshop for teens. Since her spoken-word debut at the famed Nuyorican Poet's Cafe in 1996, Caridad de la Luz "La Bruja" has appeared on HBO's "Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam" and continues to shine as a celebrated activist, recording artist, and writer, most recently known for starring in the musical "Boogie Rican Blvd." 

OH SNAP! FREE ADMISSION every third Saturday, February to May, 4pm-6pm, Black Box Theater Led by a different poet each month, this spoken word workshop offers teens (ages 13-19) the chance to write their own pieces and share them with their peers in real-time.

Sagging Is for Kids Who Wear Diapers - Not Grown Black Men!

Dog Star thinks J.R. Smith should grow up! Carmelo Anthony's teammate on the Nuggets joins him on the Knicks roster (helping them further collapse) but this Six Million Dollar Man acts like a hip hop infatuated teen when he lets his shorts sad...too bad he doesn't see himself as a role model for other Black males. There is a shortage.

Trayvon Martin Now Gangster in Smear Campaign

Photo at right:  Trayvon Martin, as he appeared on his actual Facebook page.

Dog Star says now the smear campaign (go here) has begun - we sometimes see it here in New York City after a police officer shoots and kills a black or brown male - they release his arrest record as if to say, "Look he was a criminal and that sort of makes it okay, right?"  Dog Star talked to his 11th grade English classes today about this issue.  We talked about how Trayvon is being painted to look like the stereotype of the renegade, violent, drug dealing gangster to increase the public perception that these pathologies justify his murder:  "He was a menace to society therefore he must be exterminated."  We also read the Charles Blow piece from yesterday's NY Times called "A Mothers' Grace and Grieving" (a must-read for followers of this story - go here).  Part of the smear campaign is the carefully crafted short story Zimmerman, his family and attorney have co-written to claim that Trayvon attacked him (go here for this report).  This fiction is an integral part of the larger picture:  as long as Zimmerman sticks with his lie that Trayvon attacked him - and broke his nose - then Zimmerman is free to go and will not be arrested under the Stand Your Ground law.  The national narrative picks up again, after a short pause, to say, "Black life is worthless and let's just make all the ugly go away and let the white guy off the hook."  Zimmerman's supporters might as well be chanting, "Kill all the black monsters!"  Sounds a bit like Emmett Till (go here), doesn't it?  In this famous case from the 1950s, a white vigilante duo took matters into their own hands to protect the virtue of white womanhood.  They killed and mutilated the young boy and were never convicted for the murder.

UPDATE:  This post had the previous headline "Kill All the Black Monsters!"  Some have taken issue with my INFLAMMATORY headline "Kill the Black Monsters" on Dog Star - here's my response:  Black and brown teens are labeled "monsters" by the media, school districts, teachers, neighborhoods, the it INAPPROPRIATELY INFLAMMATORY?  Yes, but in my personal conversations with teens they often don't understand the underlying sociological factors behind these things.  Does it over simplify?  Sure.  It's black death - it's always swept under the carpet unless it's Whitney and Michael.  Other murders happen - as you point out - and the outrage isn't there.  Maybe the Trayvon Martin case will further the national dialogue on these issues.  And my headline isn't a CALL TO ACTION for teens.  It is my take on the ATTITUDE taken by killers toward black and brown males - they have the attitude that they need to "Kill the black monsters!"  We have decided to change the headline since the point is made in the post and may be misunderstood by some who take it out of context.

Honda Micro Commuter City Car Concept

Dog Star says that while we are now well into the 21st century, automobile designs have yet to totally transform into futuristic, psychedelic transporters. However, Honda’s latest concept does lead in heading that direction with the Micro Commuter City Car. The three-seater electronic vehicle boasts an undeniably unique aesthetic, while the maximum speed of the compact ride is 37 mph, although quite reasonable considering the commuting purpose of the car. The steering wheel has been replaced by two adjacent joysticks to control the action, as a smartphone application can virtually run various functions and a full battery charge only takes roughly one hour.

Go See "Question Bridge: Black Males" Smash Stereotypes @ Brooklyn Museum - Bring your friends! Tell your teachers!

Dog Star thinks this innovative video project will smash stereotypes about black males!  The video below is just a very tiny excerpt from the project.  There is much, much more to the project on view at the museum!  Question Bridge: Black Males (project website here), a video installation created by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Chris Johnson in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, features dialogue among 150 Black men recruited from eleven American cities and towns. The exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (more here) includes five video screens, placed in an arc, playing videos of the men responding to questions. The videos were edited so that it appears as if the men are having a conversation. For the past four years the four collaborators have traveled throughout the United States to locations including New York, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Philadelphia, creating 1,500 video exchanges in which the subjects serve as both interviewers and interviewees, posing and answering one another’s questions. Their words are woven together to simulate a stream-of-consciousness dialogue, through which important themes and issues emerge. The subjects addressed include family, love, interracial relationships, community, education, violence, and the past, present, and future of Black men in American society. The men represent a range of American geographic, economic, generational, educational, and social strata. The artists hope that the Question Bridge project will be a catalyst for constructive dialogue among Black men and others in the nation that will help deconstruct stereotypes about Black male identity in our collective consciousness. “In the end, the objective is to create something that resonates as essentially genuine to viewer and subjects, and provides audiences with an intimate window into the complex and often unspoken dialogue between African American men,” they note in their Artists’ Statement. “In this light, ‘Blackness’ ceases to be a simple, monochromatic concept. A major ambition is to transform our audiences’ appreciation of any demographic and provide new opportunities for healing and understanding. The Question Bridge videos are a part of a larger project that also includes a user-generated website and a curriculum currently being offered to high schools and universities throughout the United States. The Brooklyn Museum will present a wide range of public programs in conjunction with the project. Question Bridge will be the theme of the February edition of Target First Saturdays, the Brooklyn Museum’s monthly free evening of art and entertainment. There will also be a roundtable discussion with invited community leaders and youth inspired by a moment in the video when a young Black man asks members of the civil rights generation, “Why didn’t you leave us the blueprint?” On view at the Brooklyn Museum until June 3, 2012.  EASY TO REACH - Take the 2/3 train to Eastern Parkway and the museum is right upstairs from the subway station.  Hand the cashier just $1 at the admissions desk with the words, "One please."

Question Bridge: Black Males - Project Trailer from Question Bridge on Vimeo.

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

Monday, March 26, 2012

10 Life Lessons from Albert Einstein

Re-posted from Mind Body Green (here):

1. Follow Your Curiosity: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

2. Perseverance is Priceless: “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

3. Focus on the Present: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

4. Imagination is Powerful: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

5. Make Mistakes: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

6. Live in the Moment: “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”

7. Create Value: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

8. Don’t Be Repetitive: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

9. Knowledge Comes From Experience: “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

10. Learn the Rules and Then Play Better: “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

Which is your favorite lesson?

Greek Mythology through Art (Apollo & Marsyas)

Apollo and Marsyas 1888 by Hans Thoma - Art Institute of Chicago - Detail
According to the usual Greek version, Marsyas found the aulos (double pipe) that the goddess Athena had invented and thrown away and, after becoming skilled in playing it, challengedApollo to a contest with his lyre. The victory was awarded to Apollo, who tied Marsyas to a tree and flayed him (removed his skin). His skin was displayed at Calaenae in southern Phrygia, as the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon report. According to the 2nd-century-ad Greek writer Hyginus, King Midas of Phrygia was given asses’ ears by Apollo when he voted for Marsyas.


Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

All In: The Poker Movie (Trailer)

Dog Star doesn't know how to play ANY card games. Poker is fascinating and would like to learn one day.  All In: The Poker Movie is the story of the worldwide poker boom that started in the underground clubs of New York City and went on to be played at homes and casinos all around the globe. The film tells the exciting story of poker’s renaissance in the first decade of the new millennium, from a game once played only by grandparents and teenagers unable to get a date on Friday night to a nationally televised sport played by millions, and watched by millions more. Weaving the quest for the American Dream, the ability to take risks and the celebration of entrepreneurship with a game that began with con men on riverboats and ended up being played by presidents, this is an intimate look at one of the more fascinating worlds out there. All In: The Poker Movie is in theaters now and VOD April 24.

Know My City: Discover great subway art (Robert Kushner’s 4 Seasons Seasoned)

This is an occasional post on Dog Star featuring major works of art in the NYC subway system.
Re-posted from the New York Observer (here):  Any self-respecting art lover in New York is sure to visit the Met, but may overlook the M.T.A. “There are many people throughout the world who would be amazed; curators who take the subway are blown away,” said Sandra Bloodworth, who has directed the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Arts for Transit program since 1996, adding murals and mosaics by Museum of Modern Art stalwarts like Roy Lichtenstein, Elizabeth Murray and Sol LeWitt to subterranean walls. “You can see all of this work [by artists] in these museums-on the way to those museums.”  Since the Arts for Transit program began 25 years ago, it has installed more than 200 permanent pieces of artwork in subway stations all over the city (A complete guide is available here). Beyond the works by famous names, they include murals by public-school children and works by emerging artists who later became better known. Where does the money come from? In 1982, New York passed the “Percent for Art” law which requires that 1 percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects be spent on artwork for city facilities.  The art is carefully selected to match the station. Ms. Bloodworth said, “It’s about what will resonate with the riders.” So here’s a look at some of what’s available for the cost of a MetroCard.
Robert Kushner’s 4 Seasons Seasoned
77th Street Station: 6 train
Passengers rushing through the turnstiles at 77th street to catch the No. 6 train might do better to catch the gilded leaves in the glass mosaics on either side. The beautiful work, titled 4 Seasons Seasoned, was created for the M.T.A. in 2004 by Robert Kushner. Mr. Kushner was a performance artist in the 1970s, before becoming a prominent member of the Pattern and Decoration Art movement, which was influenced by Eastern cultures’ emphasis on artistic decorative patterns. The work here has the same Japanese style and floral motifs that are prominent in many of Mr. Kushner’s other works, which can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, among other museums.

Chain of Fools

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Met. My Legends.

Dog Star likes this new promotional campaign from the Metropolitan Museum (more here) featuring celebrities from many fields (sports, architecture, television) and their favorite artworks from the Met's collection.  The Met is always free for high school students and open Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays).

Hot architecture! Unique Home Spans a Ravine

Dog Star really likes this unique home!  The Bridge House promises an introduction into contemporary living. Designed by Stanley Saitowitz, the extraordinary rectangular residential structure was built using bridge modelling techniques that ensure the residence is functional and safe. The natural landscape helped the architect create a connection to the surroundings by opening up the internal spaces to the outside world. Located in Marin, California, the Bridge House dazzles with its eternal connection to the landscape – everything this house stands for was inspired by the natural surroundings. The hill based property allowed the architect to create a long and narrow residence that rests on two sides of the hillside, creating a bridge-like house structure. The rocky ravine supports the long structure of the house that lies from east to west. Exterior Cor-Ten cladding keeps the residence looking modern and beautifully contrasts with the extensive use of glass. All the glass insertions that can be seen between the metal sheets offer the inhabitants exquisite views of the surroundings. A pool that runs perpendicular to the housing structure completes the exterior features of this amazing house.

Words to Live By