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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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


Friday, October 9, 2015


Few people on the planet have lived the kind of globetrotting and adventure-filled life that chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain has. You can probably learn a thing or two from the man. 

 1.) “Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don't have.” 

 2.) “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” 

 3.) “Don't lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don't do it again. Ever” 

 4.) "What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?" 

 5.) “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life - and travel - leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks - on your body or on your heart - are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”


Sunday, October 4, 2015


Stories from the Road (Junot Diaz)

In "The End of the Tour," Jason Segel stars as David Foster Wallace on a life-changing promotional trip. We asked authors to recount their own memorable moments from the road. Here, they write about empty chairs and packed houses; readers asking for fashion advice; and poignant connections between writer and audience.
Junot Díaz

I remember my first book event in Boston. Two people attended, one of them my boy Shuya. Despite all the empty chairs, he said, I’m proud of you, brother. I remember the young woman at Union Square, how she had been planning to buy a book for her boyfriend but then spotted him at the head of the line holding hands with another girl. Will you still sign a book for him? she asked, tears in her eyes. Tell him he’ll never see me again. I remember all the teachers who brought their students to my readings, the ones who didn’t want to ask questions and the ones who had written them out for me. I remember the two Navajo brothers who’d had it rougher than most and how eager they were to talk about books; and the doña in London who had been living in that city more than 20 years and wanted the audience to know there were Dominicans in London, yes there were.
But what I remember most are the young people. Especially the kids of color, who spend their lives erased. Looking for themselves in books, in the literature, in the canon, and not finding anything. Not a trace. I don’t like to read, they tell me, but I read your book to the end.
I remember one young Dominican woman in particular, from Lawrence, Mass., with a nose piercing that looked infected. After a long silence she said, You saved my life, you really really did. Embarrassed, she hurried to go and I tried to say something, anything. Books saved my life too, they did. They really really did.
But words failed me.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

HONY: "I'm 22 & Mature!"

from HUMANS OF NEW YORK - a street photography blog by Brandon Staunton - GO HERE TO SEE MORE!

"I'm twenty two, but I don't think I'm young. I think you mature the moment you know what you want to do."