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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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, May 31, 2013

Free Helmet Handout At Citi Bike Celebration Sunday In Union Square

This Sunday, Citi Bike will try to woo New Yorkers once and for all with a Program Launch Celebration in Union Square, because there's nothing that will win New Yorkers over faster than forcing them to spend time near 14th Street on a weekend afternoon.

The celebration kicks off at the park's northern end at 11 a.m., and will feature bike safety-centric activities like an urban obstacle course designed to teach cyclist how to navigate city streets, and lessons from Citi Bike leaders on docking, using bike share apps and buying passes. The Department of Transportation will also be on hand fitting and giving out 500 helmets free of charge, and food carts will dole out samples of "classic New York" grub, like hot dogs, ice cream and artisanal mayonnaise (we assume). 

Sunday's event runs until 3 p.m.; in the days leading up to the event, "Squad Street Teams" will be roaming through newly-anointed bike share neighborhoods to spread the Good News About Citi Bike. 

via Gothamist

Memoto Is a New Lifeblogging Device - Coming Soon!

...and you thought Google Glass is "the future"...Have you seen Memoto?  Emphasis on the ME, LMAO.  It is a "lifeblogging" device that automatically takes photos without any buttons or controls by you and uploads them to a cloud.  Seriously.  This is NOT a story from The Onion.  They aren't yet shipping but they are available for pre-order.  In three colors.

Banksy, of course. Maid in London.

Words to Live By

FREE! New City Park Honors F.D.R. & His Famous Speech "Four Freedoms"

Dog Star admires F.D.R. and knows he is an important man during the Great Depression and at the start of World War II.  He is also the former governor of New York State.  His family's estate north of New York City - Hyde Park - is open to the public and a great way to spend a Summer or Autumn Saturday with your family.  Of course, F.D.R.'s wife - Eleanor Roosevelt - is also an important figure and she had a huge role in drafting the Universal Human Rights delivered at the United Nations.

It's been 40 years since New York has been planning a memorial park for 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the east end of Roosevelt island. Originally designed by Louis Kahn in 1974, New York's almost bankrupt economy put the project on hold until the release of the documentary "My Architect" when enough support was fostered to fund the completion of the project carried out by local firm Mitchell Giurgola Architects.  

The triangular site of the 'FDR Four Freedoms Park' funnels visitors along a white granite plinth lined in linden trees to an open-air courtyard, at the entrance to which is thick block with a 28-inch bronze bust of FDR's head, sculpted by Jo Davidson, facing the united nations headquarters only 300 meters away. On the backside, the four freedoms speech is engraved as a symbol of the president's legacy to the building blocks of contemporary democratic principles. The project is planned to expand in the future, transforming a 19th-century small pox hospital to an auxiliary visitor center. The park is now open to the public.

Read more about F.D.R. here.

Go here for directions to the Four Freedoms Park!

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is an enduring tribute to the life and work of President Roosevelt. In the late 1960s, during a period of national urban renewal, New York City Mayor John Lindsay proposed to reinvent Roosevelt Island (then called Welfare Island) into a vibrant, residential community. The New York Times championed renaming the island for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and constructing a memorial to him, remarking: "It has long seemed to us that an ideal place for a memorial to FDR would be on Welfare Island, which...could be easily renamed in his honor... It would face the sea he loved, the Atlantic he bridged, the Europe he helped to save, the United Nations he inspired."

FDR's Famous Speech on The Four Freedoms On January 6, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech that shaped this nation, now known as the Four Freedoms speech. He looked forward to a world founded on four human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  Today, by building Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, we have the opportunity to honor this man and these essential freedoms.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Three-Pronged Pitchfork Of Bigotry

"The first prong is political. When a politician like Marco Rubio is willing to sacrifice his career defining immigration reform legislation solely to insure that gays and lesbians are denied equal protection under the law, we have to admit that we're under attack. This is not pragmatic politics at work. These are the policies of bias, exclusion and unfairness.

"The second wave is the steady barrage coming from those who would call themselves moral leaders. Shielded behind lecterns, they assign condemnation with impunity. Claiming to be brimming with the love of their creator, they spew forth the cowardice of the mob. Fundamentalism, whether raining down terror abroad or in homilies from our home parishes, is the enemy. It is the death knell of tolerance, progress and compromise. Fundamentalism is, in all practicality, nothing but an invitation to bigotry.

"And thirdly, when we excuse homophobia as a matter of opinion instead of treating it as a destructive social illness, we invite fear to explode into violence. How often are the perpetrators of hate-crimes discovered to be self-loathing? Valued individuals do not strike out against strangers."

- Harvey Fierstein, writing for the Huffington Post

Gay Icon Liberace Bio-Pic on HBO

So what did you think?

Dog Star was VERY CONCERNED when this project was announced that they would turn this iconic artist into some sort of gay clown.

Then after I watched the HBO movie I realized it: Liberace was a gay clown. He EMBRACED being a gay clown. It's how he made his living.

Some have described Liberace as "gay minstrel" - playing to the stereotype of the effeminate gay man and cashing in all the way to the bank.

Unfortunately, we now have a slew of gay caricatures all over reality TV, HGTV, cooking shows, etc. ...most of them emulating and trying to cash in on this very thing...exaggerations of the gay male stereotype. Gay minstrel is happening now more than ever.

Do watch the video clip from the REAL Liberace below - his stage banter is pretty funny!
By the way, in the photo above from the HBO movie that is Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover Scott Thorson, who later wrote a book about their relationship.  The HBO movie is based on Scott's book.

TommyTune (or someone using that name) recently commented on a blog (not this blog):

Here are my two uncharitable bits about Liberace. Some aren't going to like this, but here goes anyway:

The way I see it, Liberace cashed in by being the ultimate gay caricature, which is what society at the time demanded from him in order to be paid that much money. He was being paid not only to entertain in an outlandishly garish way, but also, and perhaps more importantly from the public's view, to uphold some very old, tired stereotypes of limp-wristed gay men. He may not have been aware of this on a conscious level (though maybe he was) but by saying, as he often did when people made fun of him, that he "cried himself all the way to the bank," he knew on some level exactly what he was doing by being a sort of gay minstrel. Rock Hudson did the exact opposite by being the ultimate "straight man" in his public persona. Who's the better and who's the worse? Who can say?

For a different take on the lives of countless gay people from an earlier era who didn't cash in by upholding unflattering stereotypes, I recommend this lovely paean by Frank Rich to one of his gay mentors who, like so many others, are fading into the mists of time:

Here is the video introduction to Liberace's Las Vegas Hilton stage show. When Liberace "arrives" on stage, he introduces his "friend" Scott Thorson to the audience at 4:45:

Dog Star Selects Photography by Ryan McGinley

Defiant Beauty (The Art of Chakaia Booker)

Dog Star re-posts this from John Foster's Design Observer column - go here for more of Foster's article and many more pictures!  Content below is from Foster's article:

Chakaia Booker (American, b. 1953) strikes a dramatic a figure when you see her. Her elaborate and oversized headdresses of patterned African cloth might be imposing to the uninitiated, but people who have met her say she is a quiet and reflective woman. In many ways, Booker’s clothing is like her art — transformational — and connects her to centuries of traditional African costuming. Each morning, before starting her day, she goes through a time-intensive procedure of wrapping and clothing of her body. It is a ritual that serves to remind her of her daily mission — that living creatively and making art is a process in which she has dedicated her life.

Indeed, Booker has channeled her creativity to reinvent and transform one of the most common man-made objects of the 20th century — the rubber automobile tire. Make no mistake — the process of cutting an old tire is very difficult. Booker must use heavy industrial tools to slice and rip the tires into the strips and calculated pieces she needs to do her work. Once reassembled and cleaned, these assemblages of black rubber absorb light and reveal a stunning array of black densities — which Booker says calls attention her African identity.

Words to Live By

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Keith Haring Exhibition Opens in Paris

Keith Haring Retrospective – “The Political Line” @ MAM Paris

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (MAM) opened a new retrospective of the late Keith Haring’s work entitled The Political Line.

On display were a staggering number of pieces, over 250 paintings and sculptural works with a focus on the importance of Haring’s art as visual activism, highlighting the diversity of his socio-political views.

The exhibition will be on view through August 18th in Paris and is made possible with the support of Citizens of Humanity.


FREE! Go See Photos of NYC in the 1970s by James Nares in Chelsea

Dog Star enjoys discovering photography about New York City - these images show a very different city than the one we live in today.  James Nares currently has a video exhibition called STREET on view at the Metropolitan Museum (go here) - do not miss it.  We're lucky that Paul Kasmin Gallery is also showing earlier work by James until June 22.  Devoted readers know that we always recommend a visit to The High Line with a visit to the Chelsea galleries.  All of it is FREE so be sure to invite your friends and family.

We like these photos by James Nares because they show a very different city that is siolated, empty and lonely.  There aren't any people in these images.  Certainly there are people inhabiting the buildings and inside Fanelli's Bar but we don't see them.  These pictures reminded us of the views of the city in the Will Smith film "I Am Legend."  In that film Smith is alone (although he discovers that's not really true since there are zombies) but the city has been emptied of it's life and action.  

Nares's photos also seem like snapshots of scenes that have been "emptied and abandoned."  New York City was practically broke - a much smaller police force, fewer jobs, higher crime and many, many people giving up any hope that the city would ever turn around.  (This is a time when Central Park was filled with graffiti and trash and the time that would give birth to hip hop in the Bronx.)

We urge any "students of NYC history and culture" to get to this photo exhibition and go back in time in these compelling images of a darker period.

FREE! Go See "Africans In India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers" at Schomburg Center

Dog Star knows there are still so many "strains" of the story to tell- the African Diaspora has so many chapters that we may never have enough time in a lifetime to learn and appreciate the African influence in other cultures.  This fine exhibition at Harlem's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture helps illuminate an important aspect of the shifting role of Africans in India.

Over the centuries, East Africans have greatly distinguished themselves in India as generals, commanders, admirals, architects, prime ministers, and rulers. They have written a story unparalleled in the rest of the world: that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority. Known as Habshis (Abyssinians) and Sidis, they have left an impressive historical and architectural legacy that attest to their determination, skills, and intellectual, cultural, military and political savvy.  

This exhibition, the first of its kind, retraces—in over 100 photographic reproductions of paintings and contemporary photographs—the lives and achievements of a few of the many talented and prominent Sidis of yesterday.

There is a wonderful related online exhibition here.

Schomburg is EASY TO REACH - Take 2/3 train 10 135th Street
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037-1801

Open Monday to Saturday from 10am - 6pm, Closed on Sundays, FREE admission, on view until July 6, 2013

Words to Live By

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: Cuban singer Kelvis Ochoa - "Sedúceme" (You seduce me)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Will Smith & Surprise Guests on U.K. TV show

What New Yorkers Need to Know about New Bike Share

View an interactive graphic of the bike-share program at this link.

New York City officials plan to launch the long-awaited bike-sharing program on Memorial Day, nearly a year after it was first slated to open, and amid the launch of similar systems in cities around the world.

The New York program bears the name Citi Bike, in homage to the corporate sponsor, Citigroup, that has provided most of its startup funding. And like several of the cities that have preceded New York into bike-sharing – including Washington, London and Boston – this city will use its own customized version of the model pioneered in Montreal.

The Citi Bike system, which will be operated by a subsidiary of Alta Bicycle Share, is a version of the Bixi system launched in that Canadian city in 2008, and later customized for sale to other cities. (Chicago, preparing for its own bike-share launch, is also using hardware derived from Bixi and supplied by its corporate parent, PBSC Urban Solutions.)

The system has also imported some headaches from Montreal. While Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said they were importing the same system that has worked so well in Washington, a messy corporate divorce in Canada, where PBSC broke up with the vendor that supplied the operating system for the bike docking stations, sent a wave of delays south, delaying both New York and Chicago’s systems for months. New York officials say they also lost time because of heavy damage to the bikes from flooding in superstorm Sandy.

Some residents have objected to the placement of bike docking stations throughout the city – and planning of bike-share stations from the outset avoided some interest groups unlikely to welcome the bikes . But others have seemingly been eager to join the system. Before a single bike has been checked out of a docking station, more than 13,000 people had signed up for annual memberships, the city said.

THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 2! FREE! DayLife Festival on the Lower East Side!

DayLife is a FREE 3-block special event that covers Orchard Street in astroturf and pushcarts, and includes the best in LES food and fashion vendors.  More at this link.

DayLife will also feature activities such as free Yoga classes at the top of each hour courtesy of Yoga High, DJ lessons from Scratch DJ Academy, badminton, urban croquet, face-painting and stage full of top-tier talent curated by The Living Room at our Tammany Hall stage. Enter for a chance to win an Essex Street Market gift basket HERE and check out last year’s event video HERE.


Dog Star is excited about this exhibition because we have seen a few flamenco performances both here in NYC and once in Madrid, Spain.  Devoted readers interested in world cultures, Spanish culture, dance and music will run to this FREE exhibition at the NY Public Library's Performing Arts branch at Lincoln Center.  Go here for the exhibition website with links to other resources.

Directions to this NYPL Library branch:
Take subway #1 to Broadway & 66th Street - walk south along Boradway to the main plaza of Lincoln Center.  Enter the Lincoln Center Plaza from Broadway with the fountain straight ahead of you.  Immediately in the background (straight ahead of you) is the Met opera building.  Walk to the RIGHT and then continue walking further back along the wall (on your left) of the Met Opera to the NYPL Library branch.

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023-7498

Open Monday through Saturday from 12-6pm, Thurs. 12-8pm, Closed on Sundays

Exhibition is on view now until August 3, 2013.

Go here to read a fantastic review in the NY Times - it will make you want to go see the exhibition!

From the NYPL Website:

Spanish and Gypsy Flamenco dance and music, while imports from Spain, evolved as modern art forms in front of a New York City public, who flocked to theaters from the early 19th century to the early 21st century.  

Flamenco, in particular, has played a vital role in shaping culture in New York City for over 100 years. As early as 1830, Spanish dancers included New York on their tour routes from Europe to North and South America.

A century later, Spanish dance, now called “Flamenco,” emerged as a modernist language in the 1910s – 1930s, making international stars of La Argentina, La Argentinita and her sister Pilar Lopez, La Meri, and Carmen Amaya.

They moved from vaudeville houses to concert halls, inspiring audiences and both ballet companies and modern dancers.   The male stars, Vicente Escudero, José Greco, Antonio Gades, Roberto Ximenez, and Mario Maya joined them to set masculine standards of Flamenco performance and training in New York, as political events in Spain brought many dancers and teachers to settle here.  

By the 1940s and 1950s, Flamenco was presented by Sol Hurok and Columbia Artists Management on their rosters of international known classical musicians and dancers. More recently, it is linked with the widespread popularity of world music.

Artists, most notably Greco and Gades, were featured in Hollywood and international film.

Today, resident and touring troupes have made Flamenco into one of the most popular and influential performance forms in New York.
Among the artifacts on display will be:
  • Costume pieces and performance regalia, such as La Argentina’s lace mantilla and mirror and male flamenco costumes of Mariano Parra, as well as contemporary costumes from Flamenco Vivo
  • Engravings of Spanish and Gypsy dance performance and venues from Spain and NYC, from 1840 - , and photographs up to the present
  • Souvenir brochures and original texts for publicity for tours and NYC performances by La Argentinita, Pilar Lopez, and José Greco
  • Castanets, castanet instructions and castanet recordings (of La Argentina)
  • Film and video, beginning with Edison’s 1-minute film of “Carmencita” (1894), performances and demonstration films by Matteo, Escudero and La Argentina (1940 – 1960s), and moving into the present-day documentation by the Dance Division

Words to Live By

NYC in 1957 by Arthur Rothstein

Dog Star likes that the Museum of the City of New York has uploaded new photos to their archives taken by Bronx-native Arthur Rothstein, who graduated from Columbia University, where he founded the University Camera Club and was the photo editor of the Columbian. While he went on to spend years documenting rural and small-town America during the Great Depression (here is one of his most famous photos from 1936), he eventually returned to New York City. These photos were all taken for Look magazine in 1957, and you can find more at the MCNY's website.