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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12 Animals Whose Names Etymologically Describe Them

12 Animals Whose Names Etymologically Describe Them
  1. Porpoise, “Pig Fish”
  2. Aardvark, “Earth Pig”
  3. Porcupine, “Thorny Pig”
  4. Hippopotamus, “River Horse”
  5. Rhinoceros, “Nose Horn”
  6. Octopus, “Eight Feet”
  7. Orangutan, “Man Of The Forest”
  8. Squirrel, “Shade Tail”
  9. Chameleon, “Dwarf Lion”
  10. Armadillo, “Little Armored One”
  11. Flamingo, “Flaming, Flame-Colored”
  12. Ferret, “Little Thief”

Monday, December 28, 2015

Buster Keaton films to watch on YouTube

Here are some great Buster Keaton films to watch on YouTube:

One Week


The Scarecrow

The Saphead

Three Ages

Our Hospitality

Sherlock Jr

The Navigator

Seven Chances

Battling Butler

The General


Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


The Lansdowne Throne of Apollo. Marble, Roman, late 1st century.

This high-backed marble throne is perhaps the most remarkable work of Roman sculpture in LACMA’s collection.

Despite its elaborate decoration, the artfully decorated legs terminating in lion’s paw feet, and the front pair topped by eagle heads - it could hardly have been sat upon.

Cloth and animal skin realistically drape the cushion on the seat, but they are all carved in marble. Furthermore, the back of the chair is adorned with figures in high relief.

A sinuous snake weaves its way in and out of an archer’s bow, below which is a quiver full of arrows.

The throne was purchased at a sale in 1798 by William Petty Fitzmaurice, second Earl of Shelburne and first Marquess of Lansdowne (1737-1805).

His collection of ancient sculptures was among the most celebrated of its time, and many statues were acquired from Italy with the help of the Scottish artist and dealer, Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798).

The find-spot of the throne is unknown, which means that we can not be certain as to its original purpose.

However, since thrones were generally associated with figures of high status, such as gods and heroes, it is reasonable to think of it in some sort of ritual or religious setting.

The objects in high relief provide further clues. The bow and quiver are regularly associated with the god Apollo, and the snake might refer to the fearful serpent Python, guardian of the oracle at Delphi, which Apollo slew in his youth.

The throne was given to Los Angeles County Museum of Art by William Randolph Hearst, who had acquired it at the sale of the Lansdowne Collection in 1930.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dog Star Selects George Tice Photo

George Tice - Country Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1961.

Although I am not drawn to pictures of cars it is the striking contrast of the white road and the blackness of the countryside that make this an affective image for me. Other things, too: the sense that when your eye "picks" up the car in the upper right hand corner one seems to drive it forward along the road toward the lower left corner. So simple yet so brilliant.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Norwegian Seven-Year-Old Has the Voice and Soul of Billie Holiday

A seven-year-old girl showed up on Norway's Got Talent this week and unleashed a whiskey-soaked deep-blues rendition of Billie Holiday's "Gloomy Sunday."

Angelina Jordan Astar told a Norwegian television station she speaks English and "understood [the song] very well."

"I felt something special about it, it's hard to explain in words. When I sang it for my mom, she said that this song is nice, but it was incredibly sad song."

"Gloomy Sunday" is a song composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress and published in 1933, as "Vége a világnak" ("End of the world"). Lyrics were written by László Jávor, and in his version the song was retitled "Szomorú vasárnap" (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈsomoruː ˈvɒʃaːrnɒp]) ("Sad Sunday"). The song was first recorded in Hungarian by Pál Kalmár in 1935. "Gloomy Sunday" was first recorded in English by Hal Kemp in 1936, with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis, and was recorded the same year by Paul Robeson, with lyrics by Desmond Carter. 

It became well known throughout much of the English-speaking world after the release of a version by Billie Holiday in 1941. Lewis's lyrics referred to suicide, and the record label described it as the "Hungarian Suicide Song". There is a recurring urban legend that claims that many people committed suicide with this song playing.

There have been several urban legends regarding the song over the years, mostly involving it being allegedly connected with various numbers of suicides, and radio networks reacting by purportedly banning the song. However, most of these claims are unsubstantiated.

Press reports in the 1930s associated a number of suicides, both in Hungary and America, with "Gloomy Sunday", but most of the deaths supposedly linked to it are difficult to verify. The urban legend appears to be, for the most part, simply an embellishment of the high number of Hungarian suicides that occurred in the decade when the song was composed due to other factors such as famine and poverty. No studies have drawn a clear link between the song and suicide.

In January 1968, some 35 years after writing the song, its composer Rezső Seress did commit suicide. He survived jumping out of a window in Budapest, but later in the hospital choked himself to death with a wire.

The BBC banned Billie Holiday's version of the song from being broadcast, as being detrimental to wartime morale, but allowed performances of instrumental versions. However, there is little evidence of any other radio bans; the BBC's ban was lifted by 2002.

Billi's accompanied by Emmett Berry (tp); Jimmy Hamilton (cl) & (ts); Hymie Schertzer (as); Babe Russin (ts); Teddy Wilson (p); Albert Casey (g); John Williams (b); and J C Heard (ds). Recorded August 7, 1941. (Okeh Records) 31005-1

Sunday is gloomy my hours are slumberless
Dearest the shadows I live with are numberless
Little white flowers will never awaken you
Not where the black coach of sorrow has taken you
Angels have no thought of ever returning you
Would they be angry if I thought of joining you?
Gloomy Sunday

Gloomy is Sunday with shadows I spend it all
My heart and I have decided to end it all
Soon there'll be candles and prayers that are sad I know
Let them not weep let them know that I'm glad to go
Death is no dream for in death I'm caressing you
With the last breath of my soul I'll be blessing you
Gloomy Sunday

Dreaming, I was only dreaming
I wake and I find you asleep in the deep of my heart dear
Darling I hope that my dream never haunted you
My heart is telling you how much I wanted you
Gloomy Sunday

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What an Artificial Ice Cube Can Mean

Taglioni's Jewel Casket
Joseph Cornell
(American, 1903–1972)

1940. Wood box covered with velvet containing three rows of four glass cubes resting in slots on blue glass, glass necklace, jewelry fragments, and red, blue, and clear glass chips

The box is infused with erotic undertones—both in the tactile nature of the glass cubes, velvet, and rhinestone necklace (purchased at a Woolworth's dime store in New York) and in the incident itself. 

The first of dozens Cornell made in honor of famous ballerinas, this box pays homage to an incident involving Marie Taglioni, an acclaimed nineteenth-century Italian dancer.

According to legend Taglioni kept an imitation ice cube in her jewelry box to commemorate this episode: One night her carriage was stopped on a desolate road. Russian highwayman forced her to dance naked on a leopard skin covering the snow. She is said to have found this both terrifying and exciting and always remembered it with the artificial ice cube in her jewelry box.

In the collection of Museum of Modern Art by donation in 1953.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Marlon James Wins Man Booker Prize

Viola Davis on What Black Actresses Face in Hollywood

“I remember when I played the character in Doubt. It was a character that not a lot of black people embraced. Because they didn’t like her. I think a lot of women face that, in general. A lot more than men. Black women really face it.

We are always overly-sanctified in movies. Overly-nurturing, overly-sympathetic. And to find that place where you’re “messy” is very difficult. It’s even difficult to negotiate it with a director on set.

When you’re coming from a place of being a trained actor and you understand human behavior, and you understand that it’s your job to create a human being, that when people sit in the audience they just need to connect the dots.

They need to be able to say this is a person that’s driven by needs and this is what drives them. And it’s hard to create that human being because there’s so many facets of your personality they want to stifle because of this [gestures to the skin of her arm].” — Viola Davis

Saturday, December 19, 2015


"Each of us has a real capacity for originality. But originality is very, very hard to get to. It takes real work. I think people don't quite realize how much work it takes to be a good artist." - art critic Roberta Smith.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Everything is Everything

Lauryn Hill
Everything is Everything

everything is everything
what is meant to be, will be
after winter, must come spring
change, it comes eventually

i wrote these words for everyone
who struggles in their youth
who won’t accept deception
instead of what is truth
it seems we lose the game,
before we even start to play
who made these rules? we’re so confused
easily led astray

sometimes it seems
we’ll touch that dream
but things come slow or not at all
and the ones on top, won’t make it stop
so convinced that they might fall
let’s love ourselves then we can’t fail
to make a better situation
tomorrow, our seeds will grow
all we need is dedication

let me tell ya that,
everything is everything
what is meant to be, will be
after winter, must come spring
change, it comes eventually

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Brunelleschi’s Santo Spirito

When Brunelleschi was designing Santo Spirito (1450s, Florence, Italy), he applied a system of mathematical ratios to the different parts of the church. In other words, he used a mathematical ratio to govern the relationships between the different parts of the building, for example, the width of the nave is related to the height of the nave and so on. 

It is important to recognize that Brunelleschi and other Renaissance humanists believed that God created the world according to mathematical principles, principles that governed harmony and beauty. 

If you want to create musical harmony, they reasoned, you needed to think about the mathematical relationships (or ratios) between the notes (and this is true right? If you play a musical instrument like the piano, you know that in order to make two notes harmonious, you need to think about the mathematical relationship of the notes) so if you want to create harmony in architecture you have to think about the mathematical relationships (ratios) between the parts of the building. 

What is so striking about this idea is that beauty lies in the relationships between the parts — the proportions, and also the Humanist sense that we can know the mind of our creator and the laws of harmony with which he created the universe.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

15 Antiquated Words for “Happy” We Should Bring Back

  1. “CHIRKY”
    From the late 19th century, meaning “cheerful.”
    An expression for “good mood,” used from the late 17th century until the 1930s.
    Before humans literally went beyond the moon, this popular phrase from the 1930s means “overjoyed.”
  4. “GASSED”
    Started out meaning “intoxicated,” but by the 1950s it just meant happy.
  5. “TICKLED”
    As in “tickled pink.”
  6. “MERRY-PIN”
    Also started as a reference to tipsiness, this referred to a general good ol’ time in the 19th century.
    In the 19th century, this bouncy term also meant “splendid.”
    This 19th century sailor’s slang either referred to the Peruvian port of Callo or acted as a play on the word alcohol. Or both.
    From the Latin for “let us rejoice,” this oldie refers to a merry jamboree.
  10. “KVELLING”
    From the Yiddish for “so happy and proud my heart is overflowing.”
  11. “CHUFFED”
    This current slang in the UK certainly needs to make a trip across the pond.
    A term the Irish use to mean “delirious and excited.” We need to borrow this one too.
  13. “GLADSOME”
    This classic from the 14th century doesn’t get used enough anymore.
    This confusing 19th century gem was used to describe someone who was extremely pleased.
  15. “COCK-A-HOOP”
    From the phrase “to set the cock on the hoop,” meaning open the tap and let the good times flow.

Monday, December 14, 2015

10 Countries That Have Blocked YouTube

"Everyone loves YouTube right? Wrong. We take a look at the 10 countries who've tried their best to shut us down."

Saturday, December 12, 2015

W.H. Auden's "Stop All the Clocks"

W.H. Auden

Stop All the Clocks

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Do Men "Water" Women & Help them Grow in a Relationship?

I think there's a bit of misogyny in this image. I wonder if a lot of guys see themselves and their role with women as being the source that helps them grow. Why does she have to be seating on the ground in front of him? Is that how men see women in their relationships? Of course, there's the obvious phallus-piss-ejaculation imagery, too. Painting by Wang Xingwei.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Man Sleeping on Bench

What great photography can do - make us see the ordinary in fresh and surprising ways. Here Vivian stands at such an obtrusive angle (but leaves the man undisturbed) and with his neck askew it all looks rather odd and wild and perhaps something is amiss (murdered? faking? poised to surprise a passing lover or friend? - None of these but the image suggests so many possibilities!)

New York (Man Sleeping On Bench), 1955 by Vivian Maier

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


"Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility." — Pablo Picasso

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Perseus with the Head of Medusa (Greek mythology through Art)

Perseus with the Head of Medusa: Benvenuto Cellini - 1554

Sculpture on a square base with bronze relief panels is located in the Loggia dei Lanzi of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy.

The subject matter of the work is the mythological story of Perseus beheading Medusa, a hideous woman-faced Gorgon whose hair was turned to snakes and anyone that looked at her was turned to stone. 

Perseus stands naked except for a sash and winged sandals, triumphant on top of the body of Medusa with her snakey head in his raised hand. The body of Medusa spews blood from her severed neck. 

The bronze sculpture and Medusa’s head turns men to stone and is appropriately surrounded by three huge marble statues of men: Hercules, David and later Neptune. 

Cellini breathed new life into the piazza visitor through his new use of bronze in Perseus and the head of Medusa and the motifs he used to respond to the previous sculpture in the piazza.

A man confronted with an apparition of the Fox Goddess - Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Friday, December 4, 2015

Windflower Leaf by Carl Sandburg

Windflower Leaf

This flower is repeated
out of old winds, out of
old times.
The wind repeats these, it
must have these, over and
over again.
Oh, windflowers so fresh,
Oh, beautiful leaves, here
now again.
The domes over
fall to pieces.
The stones under
fall to pieces.
Rain and ice
wreck the works.
The wind keeps, the windflowers
keep, the leaves last,
The wind young and strong lets
these last longer than stones.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible. Humans hide their secrets too well…
— René Magritte

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sak Yant - Sacred Magic Tattoos

Sak Yant, called the sacred magic tattoo or Buddhist tattoo, is an ancient type of Thai tattoo. When applied by a Buddhist Monk or Brahman Priest, the tattoo is said to confer mystical powers and protection on the wearer. 

It incorporates Buddhist prayers, called Mantras or Katas, that will invoke supernatural powers. Centuries ago, these magic spells were originally inscribed on pieces of cloth and Thai soldiers would wear Yant-printed jackets to offer them extra protection in battle. 

 Even today, many Thai men believe in their mystical powers, and have one or more tattoos inscribed on their bodies. There are stories of people wearing Sak Yant tattoos who were shot or involved in horrific car accidents from which tattoo bearers supposedly emerged unharmed.

The Sak Yant’s power of magic has been known to Thai people for hundreds of years, long before Buddhism came to Thailand. But Sak Yant has only recently become popular in the Western World, partly due to the publicity surrounding well known personalities receiving a Sak Yant tattoo. 

Photos © Cedric Arnold (Source:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

from Choruses From The Rock (1934) by T.S. Eliot

from Choruses From The Rock

 The world turns and the world changes,                                        But one thing does not change.

In all of my years, one thing does not change,
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.
Forgetful, you neglect your shrines and churches;
The men you are in these times deride
What has been done of good, you find explanations
To satisfy the rational and enlightened mind.
Second, you neglect and belittle the desert.
The desert is not remote in southern tropics
The desert is not only around the corner,
The desert is squeezed in the tube-train next to you,
The desert is in the heart of your brother.
The good man is the builder, if he build what is good.
I will show you the things that are not being done,
And some of the things that were long ago done,
That you may take heart, Make perfect your will.
Let me show you the work of the humble. Listen.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy 7th Birthday to Dog Star!

Dog Star began SEVEN years ago today! 

This blog began as a way to spread the word about programs for teens to our classes in a NYC high school. We're happy to still be doing this blog and wish we had more time to devote to it! 

Let us know what you like and what you look forward to on this blog! Email us at

Photo above is the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park - discover more here.

Alfred Hitchcock on the Secret of Happiness

“…only things that are creative and not destructive… hatred is wasted energy.” 

"A clear horizon — nothing to worry about on your plate, only things that are creative and not destructive… I can’t bear quarreling, I can’t bear feelings between people — I think hatred is wasted energy, and it’s all non-productive. I’m very sensitive — a sharp word, said by a person, say, who has a temper, if they’re close to me, hurts me for days. I know we’re only human, we do go in for these various emotions, call them negative emotions, but when all these are removed and you can look forward and the road is clear ahead, and now you’re going to create something — I think that’s as happy as I’ll ever want to be.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mr. Duckett and Dr. Jones

Together 46 years, Lewis Duckett and Billy Jones wrote coded letters to each other during Dr. Jones's deployment in Vietnam. They adopted a baby, became grandfathers and then, finally, got married.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dog Star Wants You to Discover Carlos Andrés Gómez

Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood

Inspired by the award-winning poet and actor’s acclaimed one-man play, a powerful coming-of-age memoir that reimagines masculinity for the twenty-first-century male. 
Award-winning poet, actor, and writer Carlos Andrés Gómez is a supremely gifted storyteller with a captivating voice whose power resonates equally on the live stage and on the page. In one of his most powerful spoken-word poems, Gómez recounts a confrontation he once had after accidentally bumping into another man at a nightclub. Just as they were about to fight, Gómez’s eyes inexplicably welled up with tears. Everyone at the scene jumped back, as if showing vulnerability was the craziest thing that Gómez could possibly have done.

Like many men in our society, Gómez grew up believing that he should be ready to fight at all times, treat women as objects, and close off his emotional self. It wasn’t until he discovered acting that he began to realize the true cost of squelching one’s emotions—and how aggression dominates everything that young males are taught.

Plummeting graduation and employment rates and dire teen suicide statistics show that young males in our society are at a crisis point. Gómez seeks to reverse these alarming trends by sharing lessons about life, love, and vulnerability. Man Up galvanizes men—but also mothers, girlfriends, wives, and sisters—to rethink the way all men interact with women, deal with violence, handle fear, and express emotion.

Gómez urges men of all ages to break society’s rules of male conformity and reconsider not just what it means to be a man, but what it means to be a good man.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gray Room by Wallace Stevens

Although you sit in a room that is gray,
Except for the silver
Of the straw-paper,
And pick
At your pale white gown;
Or lift one of the green beads
Of your necklace,
To let it fall;
Or gaze at your green fan
Printed with the red branches of a red willow;
Or, with one finger,
Move the leaf in the bowl—
The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia
Beside you…
What is all this?
I know how furiously your heart is beating.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Matisse and French Polynesia

It was in dream-like terms that the painter Henri Matisse viewed one such lagoon when, ordered to take a complete rest, he arrived in 1930 on the battered English mailboat, Tahiti, with a sullen captain, abysmal food and a bunch of Australian sheep farmers. 

'It is as if the light were immobilised forever,' he revelled. 'It is as if life were frozen in a magnificent stance.' 

He used the words pulpy, pithy and caressing to evoke the sunlight - and reckoned that it felt like plunging your eye into a goblet. 

But it's the color of the water that stays in the mind. 

To Matisse, the sea was a talismanic blue - 'a blue like the blue of the morpho butterfly'. The Tahitians call it ninamu. 

Sixteen years later this experience shows up in a cut painter paper collage called "Polynesia."

Above:  POLYNESIA, 1946.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime

Dog Star re-posts this from Huffington Post:

With our ever-expanding bucket lists, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of the essentials. Well, we've gone to the community of travelers at with a simple goal: find the greatest destinations on Earth. From the great ancient capitals to the modern cities of Asia, the Americas, and beyond, here are the 50 cities you must see during your lifetime.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Discover CAMP MANITOU - A week-long summer camp for grieving boys

Experience Camps are one-week summer camps for boys who have lost a parent, sibling or loved one that help build confidence, encourage laughter, and navigate grief through friendship, teamwork, activities, and the common bond of loss.

We provide support to grieving boys through summer camps, year-round programs, and online support.

Read an article about Camp Manitou in the Wall Street Journal:

WILEY CERILLI always experiences a little bit of nervous excitement the first day of summer camp.
There is usually some anxiety in meeting new people, said Mr. Cerilli, a 34-year-old venture capitalist and entrepreneur. At the same time, camp is a blast, he said, with swimming, soccer and nightly s'mores. Central Maine's Belgrade Lakes area is stunning during the waning days of summer, he said, and Camp Manitou itself, a 67-year-old upscale sleep-away summer camp for boys, is the kind of place you'd happily pay to visit to as an adult (and bring all of your friends) if you're an outdoorsy, athletic kind of guy, as Mr. Cerilli is. 

But for the New Yorker, the magic is not the 100 acres of pine-and-birch woods, cool lakes and big grassy fields, but the chance to meet boys and teenagers who are reluctant members of Mr. Cerilli's tribe: young men who have lost a parent, sibling or other loved one. Mr. Cerilli was 16 when his father died of lung cancer. 

As he has for the past five summers, next month Mr. Cerilli will volunteer as a camp counselor with the Manitou Experience, a program begun in 2009 that takes over the site for one week a summer and hosts about 300 grieving boys, ages 9 to 17. The mission of camp is to "play games, be a kid and not feel different," explained Mr. Cerilli, who recalled not wanting to "stand up" and admit he needed help when his father died. "You're the kid in school that lost a parent," he said. "I didn't want people feeling bad for me." Today he serves on the board of the organization, which holds camps in Maine, California and, starting next year, New York.


from Camp Manitou's website:

Experience Camps provide boys who have lost a parent, sibling or loved one with a program that helps build confidence, encourage laughter and navigate their grief through friendship, teamwork, athletics, and the common bond of loss.

It is a safe environment where kids can explore their grief, break the isolation they may feel with their non-camp peers, and have a whole lot of fun. They have the opportunity to meet and connect with kids who are coping with similar challenges, while getting all of the benefits of the traditional summer camp experience. Through team sports, individual challenges and community living they learn about leadership, confidence and cooperation. Under the guidance of professional bereavement staff, campers have the opportunity to share stories and remember the one who died, while exploring skills that will help them after camp.

The program is designed to maximize each camper’s time with his bunkmates to give him time to bond and build the trust that leads to open communication. Boys often build those bonds through sports and activities, which are a main component of the day. Campers can play their favorite games, such as basketball, soccer and baseball, as well as explore new activities, like rock climbing, waterskiing, and archery. A full day of fun and rewarding activity takes place in the beautiful outdoors, surrounded by accepting friends, supportive counselors and fresh air.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Adapting A Novel with an Autistic Hero for the Stage (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time)

Dog Star loves the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and read it after another teacher said she loved it, too.

The novel has been popular with readers (first in Britain) for a few years and was recently adapted into a stage play.  The play began at London's National Theater, then transferred to their theater district called the West End and also played in NYC at a Broadway theater.

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. 

This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years. 

In the video clip below the cast and crew share their experiences trying to bring the autistic hero's world to the stage.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Discover Photographer WILLY RONIS

Willy Ronis, a Lithuanian/Jewish descent French photographer. In 1953 he was also one of the “Five French Photographers” selected by the curator Edward Steichen for a show at the New York Museum of Modern Art, the others being Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Brassaï and Izis.

Above:  A view of Venice.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Something to Declare - Your Passport to Global Culture: Sir Arthur Evans & Ancient Greece

British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (far left in photo above) did not begin his famous excavations at Knossos until 1900 when he was forty-nine. 

In 1878 someone had discovered a small portion of the ruins but it was only after Crete became an independent state free of Turkey that Evans was able to purchase the site and organize a dig on a necessarily massive scale. 

The "palace" is a series of 1,000 interlocking rooms. Luckily, Evans lived another forty-one years, plenty of time to unveil the structures he decided were source of the mythic King Minos and his fabled Minotaur; hence Evans' coining the term Minoan civilization from the 27th to 15th centuries BC. 

One aspect of real life there was bull dancing, a tradition in which youths cavorted with angry steers to great honor and, usually within three months, certain death. Mary Renault brings the practice alive in her novel The King Must Die about Theseus's Cretan adventures. 

Evans was Keeper of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum from 1894-1908 and many, many of the treasures he found at Knossos ended up in its collection. 

He is degayed in most accounts of his life but not in Cathy Gere's intriguing Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dog Star Selects Georges Seurat's 'Bathers at Asnières' (1884)

When Georges Seurat painted this monumental picture he was still a young man in his early 20s.

It is a commonly held belief that Seurat ‘painted in dots’, but at this early stage in his career, his painting technique was more indebted to the work of Impressionist painters such as Monet and Renoir. The calm waters of the River Seine at Asnières are painted in short horizontal dashes, while the spiky grass that the bathers rest on is painted using criss-crossed brush strokes.

The huge scale of this work (it is roughly the size of a small van) is less conventional than the way in which it was painted. Works of this size were usually reserved for ‘history painting’, tackling lofty, heroic subjects that were intended to morally elevate those who viewed them.

Seurat has not chosen to paint the classical warriors or athletes traditionally depicted in such grand bathing scenes. Instead, his bathers are everyday men and boys, perhaps on a day off from the Clichy factories in the background.

The bathers sit or recline on the bank and bathe in the polluted river in strange isolation, while the blazing sunshine beats down overhead. The repetition of poses and anonymity of their faces seems to strip the figures of individuality. We can only wonder what their thoughts might be or what faces lie beneath the various hats and heavy fringes.

Only one boy is animated – our attention drawn to him by his surrounding ‘glow’ – as he appears to hail someone on the other side of the river. In fact, Seurat returned to this work some years later (after he had developed his pointillist technique) to repaint the hat of this young boy in complementary orange and blue dots.

However, the work requires you, the viewer, to finish it. The colours have not been mixed on Seurat’s brush. They are juxtaposed and only blend to form the intended colour once viewed from a distance.

Source:  National Gallery

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

George Takei Does TED Talk

Clip recap: When he was a child, George Takei and his family were forced into an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, as a “security" measure during World War II. 70 years later, Takei looks back at how the camp shaped his surprising, personal definition of patriotism and democracy.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Baby Elephant vs. Birds

Look at that tail wagging and that floppy nose! Yes, that baby elephant is disarmingly cute, but that's just to soften you up for his much grander message: appreciate life's little joys.

That's something we say to ourselves when we're feeling down or trying to annoy a friend who is feeling down. But this guy is leading by example and seeing is believing.

He'll never catch those birds and he doesn't even want to. Sometimes the chase, the jump, the hop, the little side-skip is the journey. Sometimes we have to take what's in front of us and make it a game. Thank you baby elephant for giving me a new direction, for today at least.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Discover British Poet DEAN ATTA

He’s been described as ‘one of the leading lights in London’s poetry scene’ and ‘the Gil Scott-Heron of his generation.’ He’s young, gifted and black. And gay. He’s not afraid to tackle touchy subjects like homophobia in hip hop or the ‘reclaiming’ of the ‘N’ word. His debut poetry collection is called ‘I Am Nobody’s Nigger’ – after a controversial poem he wrote commemorating Stephen Lawrence, which went viral on YouTube. Dean Atta doesn’t mince his words.

Can terms of abuse like the N-word ever be reclaimed?
‘The N-word was one of the last words Stephen Lawrence heard before he was murdered in that attack. Some black people may use it as a term of endearment, but many also use it as a way of describing a certain type of black person who has more of a ghetto or criminal mentality. I’d prefer it if no one used that word to describe me.’


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Khalik Allah Featured on TIME's Lightbox

Khalik Allah, a 30-year-old filmmaker and photographer who documents the streets of Harlem at night, has been photographing the corner of 125th and Lexington since 2012; armed with little more than a manual camera and a few rolls of film.

Street photography can often be a daunting or awkward experience – especially when you’re trying to photograph people who might be skeptical of what you are doing and why. However, for this street artist, photography is an immersive experience where he has built hundreds of relationships with members of the community.

One of the methods Allah uses to gain access to the lives of so many people is to show them a book of his past photographs, a technique learned from one of his influencers, photographer Bruce Davidson.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hiplife - A Sound Imported From Ghana

When Evans Appiah moved to the Bronx from Ghana at age 8, he was teased for his accent. As a way of fitting in, he learned to rap. By the time he got to Middle School 391 on Webster Avenue, his friends were calling him “Lighter” because he rapped so fast and furious in English that it sounded as if he were spitting fire.

The Bronx, the birthplace of hip-hop, shaped Mr. Appiah, now a baby-faced 27. But it was not until he returned to his native Ghana four years ago that he rediscovered his musical roots. 

 “When I went back,” he said, “that’s when I fell in love again.” 

He began adding to his hip-hop repertoire by collaborating with artists from Ghana’s unique genre of hipline — a blend of hip-hop and upbeat indigenous soul music called highlife.