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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


"this world can be dark as fuck
i find myself hiding in a beat
or with 85th" - Eleagle

Eleagle is a member of the Queens rap group 85th and they have a new album out called CHURCH BOYS here.

Photograph of Eleagle by Alberto Vargas here.

CNN's Don Lemon Has Advice for the Black Community

Go here for a full transcript of the video at Real Clear Politics.

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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Travel to L.A. from NYC Under One Hour

Commuting is a part of many people’s everyday routine. Imagine reducing your hour commute down to just minutes, or even better, imagine a transcontinental trip lasting less than an hour. Colorodo-based engineering company ET3 is hard at work developing a tube transport system that will allow for travel from LA to NYC in under an hour. This technology can even be applied to global transport, virtually eliminating the need for airplanes. The Hyperloop system is frictionless transport that costs a tenth of the cost of high-speed rail and a quarter the cost of a freeway. The estimated cost for a trip from LA to NYC is $100, which will make cross-country travel a breeze.  Source.

Words to Live By

I THOUGHT YOU LIKED BUILDINGS & DESIGN? SO GO ALREADY! Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes

Above:  Le Corbusier's 1931 private home for the Savoye Family, Poissy, France - go here to read more about this fascinating and influential design

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes
June 9–September 23, 2013

MoMA presents its first major exhibition on the work of Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887–1965), encompassing his work as an architect, interior designer, artist, city planner, writer, and photographer. 

Conceived by guest curator Jean-Louis Cohen, the exhibition reveals the ways in which Le Corbusier observed and imagined landscapes throughout his career, using all the artistic techniques at his disposal, from his early watercolors of Italy, Greece, and Turkey, to his sketches of India, and from the photographs of his formative journeys to the models of his large-scale projects. 

His paintings and drawings also incorporate many views of sites and cities. All of these dimensions are present in the largest exhibition ever produced in New York of his prodigious oeuvre.


Grammar Pet Peeves

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pay With Your Face

Finland-based company Uniqul is preparing to release a payment system that uses facial recognition software to link a customer with his or her bank account. Instead of swiping a credit card to purchase goods (which is so painfully last-century), now you can just gaze into a camera. A Uniqul tablet at check-out stations would take the customer’s photo as they approach. Within seconds the tablet processes biometrical data to locate the individual’s account within the database, which can be registered with any major credit card, Uniqul says. All the customer needs to do is confirm the payment by pressing the “OK” button. The system is supposed to reduce payment transaction time from an average of 30 seconds to less than 5 seconds.


Words to Live By

Paul Rodriguez Life: It Takes A Village

Dog Star likes what we learn about the Lower Ninth Ward from skater Paul Rodriguez.  In this video he continues his web series "Paul Rodriguez Life" with the first part of the fourth episode dubbed “It Takes A Village.” Moving on from the previous episode which featured the skater competing in Street League, this latest episode sees the talented skater attending the opening of Lil Wayne‘s Trukstop skatepark in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. While visiting he gets a sobering lesson on the tragic effects of Hurricane Katrina and how the devastation still affects the city several years on before heading off to a local skate dubbed “Parasite Park.”

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Dog Star is mystified and very perplexed by Jay Z's use of Marina Abarmovic's durational art methods for his new "film" for the song "Picasso Baby."

Well...Jay Z has CROSSED THE "borrowing" Marina Abramovic's odd-ball and incomprehensible method of "engaging" with an audience, Jay Z has positioned himself, elevated himself, on an entirely different level.  He has become so far removed - emotionally, materially, mentally - from Marcy Projects that they might as well be one of the 67 moons of Jupiter.

"Crossing the Rubicon" means to pass a point of no return, and refers to Julius Caesar's army's crossing of the river in 49 BC, which was considered an act of insurrection.

By Jay Z embracing the moves, gestures, postures and intentions of (mostly) white dominant performance art he has openly rejected his past.  He will never be able to return to "Can't Knock the Hustle" and he will never, again, be THAT man and THAT rapper.  It will not be possible for Hov to to consider anything for his life, for his lifestyle except for these new shores.

Consider these "Can't Knock the Hustle" lyrics from 17 years ago:

I'm making short term goals, wonder whether foes
just put away the leathers and put ice on the gold
chilly with enough bail money to free a big Willy
high stakes, I got more at stake than Philly
shopping sprees, coping three, deuce fever I guess its fully loaded,
ah yes,
bouncing in the lex luger, tires smoke like Buddha
50 g's to the crap shooter,
niggas can't fade me

Consider these "Picasso Baby" lyrics from the new album:

It ain't hard to tell, I'm the new Jean Michel
Surrounded by Warhols, my whole team ball
Twin Bugattis outside the Art Basel
I just wanna live life colossal
Leonardo Da Vinci flows
Riccardo Tisci Givenchy clothes
See me throning at the Met

Once you see these lyrics together (they aren't especially selected since many, many other lyrics could illustrate the same point) you see a man who has "crossed the Rubicon" - a point of no return.  And the confirmation, of course, is his use of the art world's performance art methods.  Hip hop and pop music (especially Lady Gaga) have been borrowing from the world of performance art for quite some time - what used to be considered edgy and original has now become part of the mainstream.  In Abramovic's method of durational art - the famous piece Hov is referencing in his music video - she sits for 8 hours across the table from a stranger.  Jay Z chooses, though, a model for his art world performance (Marina Abramovic) that is completely alien to the world of growing up in the projects.

Ironically, Hov has moved from a life in which nothing could happen fast enough to a life in which he pays others to wait (on lines and in art galleries), in which he stands around waiting for people more famous than he is and he, too, spends over 8 hours waiting to make a music video.  He has now become rich enough to slow down.

What a strange, strange world we live in that one of the most successful rap artists of all time uses as his "marker" for having made it the signature art style of a (mediocre) white female performance artist.  Status means everything to some people.

He has crossed over, indeed.

Empire State Building Plane Crash (1945)

July 28th, 1945. Damage on the Empire State Building from plane crash. New York Times reporter, Ernie Sisto was held over the ledge by friends to take this photo of the damage. Photo from the New York Times Photo Archives

Words to Live By

LAST WEEKS! Discover Photographer LATOYA RUBY FRAZIER at the Brooklyn Museum - Bring your friends!

Above: “Fifth Street Tavern and UPMC Braddock Hospital on Braddock Avenue” (2011).

Dog Star is deeply moved emotionally by the pain and nostalgia of this very special photography exhibition by LaToya Ruby Frazier, on view now until August 11 at the Brooklyn Museum.  It's called LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital.

Her work explores corporate co-optation of a community (see bottom video about Levi's using her hometown for an ad campaign, healthcare in America, family bonds, environmental racism, racist stereotypes, the African American experience in America and images of women in the media.

"The mind is the battleground for photography...Our mind sees in images - we imagine ourselves to look a certain way, we imagine ourselves in a certain place...," explains Ms. Frazier in the first video below.

Oddly, though, the photographs are not depressing - even when they show empty rooms where loved ones once lived, or demolished towns - but filled with a loving appreciation for what makes a hometown.  But they will make you angry and they will challenge you to accept some very difficult truths about this country.

My mother had the idea to shoot a portrait of me wearing this T-shirt printed with a Huxtable family portrait. As a child I watched The Cosby Show in order to escape the reality of my dismantled working-class family. My mother set up the camera in the bedroom doorway, facing a mirror reflecting part of her image. Both the mirror and the T-shirt are scratched, dusty, and fading in the light. In the text that I perform live, for this particular photograph I wrote, "Between my background and my foreground, I am not sure where I stand."
—LaToya Ruby Frazier

Devoted readers who are working on a self-education in photography and those who simply want to be challenged and engaged by creative work will run to this exhibition.  

Take your time - there's so much to see and so many ways to connect the dots.  You will likely find your own heart and mind wandering to re-think the ways you think of family, homes and the bonds between both.

Be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post to see TWO VIDEOS about Ms. Frazier's photography and video projects as a "documentary radical."  

We strongly urge you to watch the videos and read the NY Times review - all of them below - before you go to give you background information that will enrich your visit to the exhibition.
In the top video Frazier reveals the story behind a series of videos and photographs of her family in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Video courtesy of Art21, from their “New York Close Up” series.

In the bottom Frazier discusses the economic and environmental decline of her hometown, Braddock, Pennsylvania—the city that clothing company Levi's used as the inspiration and backdrop for a major 2010 advertising campaign. Video courtesy of Art21, from their “New York Close Up” series.

Getting to the Brooklyn Museum:
Trains: 2/3 to Eastern parkway - the museum is literally right upstairs - you cannot miss it. 
Wednesday: 11 am–6 pm.
Thursday: 11 am–10 pm

Friday–Sunday: 11 am–6 pm
Admission is by Suggested Contribution which means the museum "suggests" an amount of $8 for students but it is okay to pay just $1 - Seriously!  It's okay!

From the museum's website:

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital uses social documentary and portraiture to create a personal visual history of an industrial town’s decline. Through approximately 40 photographic works of her family and their hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier offers an intimate exploration of the effects of deindustrialization on the lives of individuals and communities. Home to one of America’s first steel mills, Braddock now has a population below 2,500 and has been declared a “distressed municipality.”

Frazier began to explore Braddock’s history in her series Notion of Family, four examples of which are on view in this exhibition. That project uses the bodies of the artist, her mother, and her grandmother to both reveal complex intergenerational relationships and to serve as a metaphor for their town’s decay. Frazier’s portrayal of this American landscape is in stark contrast to images from a recent corporate ad campaign set in Braddock, which she felt not only erased the troubled realities of her endangered town but also excluded the community to which her family belongs.

Here is the review in The New York Times - read it and it will make you want to see the exhibition!

The Flesh and the Asphalt, Both Weak 


Braddock, Pa., is about nine miles southeast of Pittsburgh, hugging the eastern bank of the Monongahela River. But in the photographs of LaToya Ruby Frazier, who grew up in this steel town, its coordinates are not so precise. Braddock is in the bodies of Ms. Frazier’s elder family members, who used to work at the local mills; it’s in the empty foundation of the hospital that used to serve them, before it was closed and demolished. It’s there in every picture Ms. Frazier has taken, and it’s here in her outstanding first New York solo show. 

The exhibition, “LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital” at the Brooklyn Museum, follows her standout appearances in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and in the New Museum’s “Younger Than Jesus” triennial of 2009. It offers further proof of her gifts and a deeper look at her series “The Notion of Family,” initiated in 2002. 

This preternaturally mature body of work (Ms. Frazier is just 31) connects bedrooms and streetscapes, the suffering of loved ones and the afflictions of a “distressed municipality” (the state’s official term for Braddock and other ailing Rust Belt towns). Simultaneously introspective and extroverted, it’s composed of arresting black-and-white photographs that sometimes look like studio portraits or social documentaries but aren’t fully at home in either category. 

Take “Huxtables, Mom and Me,” in which Ms. Frazier stares at the camera and her mother, reflected in a full-length mirror. She is wearing a faded T-shirt emblazoned with the cast and logo of “The Cosby Show,” a program she recalls having watched “to escape the reality of my dismantled working-class family.” You don’t even need to read that statement, in the wall label, to grasp that this is an image of regression to childhood that’s laced with a very adult sense of disillusionment. 

Another photograph shows an elderly woman standing next to a lamppost outside the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Braddock. It seems to belong to the genre of street photography — the woman does not make eye contact, and the camera catches a man striding through the intersection — but the main subject is identified as “Grandma Ruby,” and we have already seen her as the frail odalisque of “Grandma Ruby on Her Bed.” A few pictures later we will see her lying in her coffin, attended by her daughter and granddaughter and some dolls from her collection.


Seven Laws of Positive Manifestation

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Harvey Fierstein On Orson Scott Card

"Look at that asshole [Orson Scott Card] that wrote this new Harrison Ford movie [Ender's Game]. I think that you can have any opinion you want, but at least be willing to take the consequences of your opinion. It’s like, 'Well, I hope that people will be more understanding,' or what did he say? 'More tolerant of my views.' The quotes that got me about him weren’t against gay marriage -- he wanted homosexuality criminalized in the United States. That's what he called for. You want me to be tolerant of you wanting to criminalize homosexuality? Fuck you on your grave, you piece of shit." - Harvey Fierstein, telling it like it is to the Hollywood Reporter

New Order On Jimmy Fallon

Bishop Tutu Refuses a Homophobic Heaven

South Africa's Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he will never worship a "homophobic God" and will rather go to hell. The retired archbishop was speaking at the launch of a UN-backed campaign in South Africa to promote gay rights. Archbishop Tutu said the campaign against homophobia was similar to the campaign waged against racism in South Africa. "I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level," he added.