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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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