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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dog Star Selects Paul Cézanne: Bathers (1890s)

Cézanne painted this imaginary scene many, many times. He was always exploring different placements of the figures, color, shapes, composition and the deeply private enjoyment / entertainment of escaping into this lush, imaginary landscape. 

This one is in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. 

His great ambition was to achieve a complete fusion of the human figure and the landscape. Each element is given the same importance in a sort of common architecture. The artist dos not focus on the flesh, as Renoir did, but rather on the bodies which powerfully structure the space. The theme of water is left aside and the world of the painting remains essentially mineral. Only the smooth, delicately iridescent substance of the clouds recalls Cezanne's attachment to Impressionism.

Friday, January 29, 2016

You Do Not Need

you do not need to leave your room.
remain sitting at your table and listen.
do not even listen, simply wait,
be quiet still and solitary.
the world will freely offer itself
to you to be unmasked, it has no choice,
it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

- Franz Kafka

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Christian Beliefs Under Attack with FUN HOME Choice by Duke

College Students Refuse To Read Award-Winning Novel Because It Violates Their Christian Beliefs 

Some freshmen students at Duke University are protesting the assignment of Fun Home, claiming reading it would violate their Christian beliefs. 

More nonsense (here) from the population in American society who believes, not in Christ, but that the sole definer of their faith is how offended they can by other people's lifestyles. 

Three things to know here: 

1. These students do not go to a Christian college. Duke is a secular, private college. The college has no mission or obligation to only assign materials that will uphold your personally held religious beliefs.

2. They can claim to be offended by being assigned FUN HOME but they cannot claim it violates their Christian beliefs. For that to be true they must be FORCED to believe something - such as homosexuality is not a sin but a natural part of the physical universe - that breaks the rules of their faith. Reading a book is an act of the mind and heart but it does no terrorism to anyone's religious beliefs. Knowledge or insight gained from a book has limited impact and use on any person whose faith is stronger than anything found in the book. So go on and be offended that Duke attempts to be inclusive but you haven't been violated.

3. Finally, the pursuit of an undergraduate education is still intended to open minds to a range of thought; expose students to all kinds of worlds and perspectives all in the safety of the college campus. If they're going to pretend that college made it unsafe to be there (the violation of the Christian beliefs) then they are not only believing a faction but also this campus is not where you belong.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gravity and Center BY HENRI COLE

I’m sorry I cannot say I love you when you say
you love me. The words, like moist fingers,
appear before me full of promise but then run away
to a narrow black room that is always dark,
where they are silent, elegant, like antique gold,
devouring the thing I feel. I want the force
of attraction to crush the force of repulsion
and my inner and outer worlds to pierce
one another, like a horse whipped by a man.
I don’t want words to sever me from reality.
I don’t want to need them. I want nothing
to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,
or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,
or the sound of water poured in a bowl.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

QUOTE (Frida Kahlo)

"I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling."  
-  Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Misogyny (Anti-Women) in Daddy Yankee's "La Nueva y La Ex"

I think this Daddy Yankee video is a bit misogynistic...because I'm on the look out for shit like this - I got to report it.

He's a Don in a Chinese restaurant peering through beaded curtains at two superfine women seated opposite each other.  A waiter comes in and lays a handgun on the table.  Daddy Yankee watches each one pick it up, rub it on her body and place the gun in her mouth.  They also appear to be playing a kind of Russian roulette.  But he has no care for either one of them:

I don't wanna see you again
The one I have now she's loyal to me

Why do you search for me and you call me?
Now you want me on your bed
You'll never look like her
I tell it to you...

No no no no
They aren't alike
For me is that they're rivals
But don't compare them

They also have no control of the situation.  Clearly they have been directed - like beautiful caged birds - to stay in this room and see who survives.  Each presumes she will be rewarded with Daddy's love and companionship.  Both are wrong.  At the end of the video he has a third women waiting for him in an automobile.

The negative MACHISMO stereotypes are off the charts here, too.  He's the DON sitting in a throne (Fu Dogs are cliché and still corny).  Young Latino males definitely learn from the video that YOU ARE THE MAN if females are willing to kill each other for the D.

It's too bad an artist knee deep in the game can't come up with a more respectful way to represent Latinas in his music videos.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

SOMETHING TO DECLARE: La Plena & The Painter

Rafael Tufiño died in 1988 but his legacy lives on.

Rafael Tufiño, Artist, Is Dead at 85

Rafael Tufiño, a painter and printmaker considered one of Puerto Rico’s most prominent cultural figures, died on Thursday in San Juan. He was 85 and lived in Old San Juan.

The cause was lung cancer, said Augusto Font, a friend.

An artist known as the “Painter of the People” for his canvases and posters depicting traditional aspects of life on the island, Mr. Tufiño will lie in state in the Galería Nacional del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña in San Juan before burial later this week. Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, the governor of Puerto Rico, ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over the weekend in his honor.
Mr. Tufiño, who was born in Brooklyn and frequently returned to the city, was an important presence in New York, where he was a mentor to Puerto Rican artists and served as a bridge to Puerto Rico’s traditions and aesthetics.

He was a founder of Taller Boricua, a workshop and art collective started in East Harlem in 1970, and was also influential in the establishment of El Museo del Barrio in that neighborhood. His work was the subject of a major retrospective at the museum in 2003.

Mr. Tufiño’s art, which can be seen on posters throughout Old San Juan, presents scenes of daily life in Puerto Rico — work, dance, music and festivals — in bright, Fauvist colors. His paintings, including landscapes, interiors and portraits, are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress and the Galería Nacional in Puerto Rico.

In 2003, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the National Arts Club in New York City.

Born Rafael Tufiño Figueroa in 1922, he became interested in Puerto Rican traditions as a child in Brooklyn, where he often heard stories of life on the island from his mother and father.

When, at 10, he moved to San Juan to live with his grandmother, his drew pictures of nearly everything he saw.


Thursday, January 21, 2016


“I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.”  - Franz Kafka.

He said “iridescent creature rather than an actual person” - I think this says a lot about his disconnection to the rest of humanity and his own human-ness.

Monday, January 18, 2016


A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles roll
ed into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ancient & Contemporary Female Forms

An ancient Roman sculpture in marble portraying the Goddess of Abundance. (Inspired by the archetype of the Artemis of Ephesus.)

She has numerous breasts and bull’s testicles. The garlands of acorns displayed are the symbols of the March-to-August Zodiacal Sign of Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer. 

Artist Louise Bourgeois in 1978.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hip-Hop Lessons for Start-Ups (Wall Street Journal)

from the Wall Street Journal:

Hip-hop is super-relevant to my business—venture capital and management. In the 1980s, most of the original rappers were entrepreneurs, recording CDs and selling them out of their cars. More important, hip-hop artists make listeners feel their stories—a skill many business managers need.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Claudia Rankine's STOP & FRISK

One of a series of “Situation” videos created by Jamaican-American poet Claudia Rankine in collaboration with her husband, the photographer John Lucas, using texts from her award-winning, genre-bending poetry collection Citizen: An American Lyric (2014). 

This one employs a technique I find very effective in maintaining viewer interest during longer videopoems: interweaving separate stories in the footage and voiceover to create a kind of dialectical tension. What doesn’t happen, or might happen, becomes as important as what does.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Black Comic Book Festival

Black Comic Book Festival

Saturday, January 16, 2016, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
2/3 trains to 135th Street
Across the street from Harlem Hospital

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Fully accessible to wheelchairs 
For all ages 

The Schomburg Center's 4th Annual Black Comic Book Festival celebrates the rich tradition of black comix in a full day event featuring panel discussions, film screenings, hands-on workshops and exhibit tables with premiere black comic artists from across the country. 

Join us and check out the mind-blowing afrofutrism art and design exhibition Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination curated by John Jennings and Reynaldo Anderson.


20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions

We all make bad decisions sometimes, but have you ever wondered what mental obstacles can lead you astray? This info graphic goes over 20 of the most common cognitive biases that can mess with your head when it’s decision time.

Some of the cognitive biases on this graphic from Samantha Lee and Shana Lebowitz at Business Insider may sound pretty familiar. You’ve probably heard of the “placebo effect” and “confirmation bias” altering your perspective, but you may not have heard of other biases like “salience” or the “availability heuristic.” It’s not always easy, but identifying the causes of bad choices might help you prevent them in the future. With the information here you’ll at least have a better chance avoiding the “blind-spot bias,” which is the failing to recognize your own cognitive biases in the first place. 

You can read more at this link.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: Constant Craving by kd lang

Constant Craving
Even Through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin
Constant craving
Has always been
Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
That feeds wisdom
To its youth
Constant craving
Has always been
Ah ha
Constant craving
Has always been
Constant craving
Has always been
Constant craving
Has always been
Ah ha
Constant Craving
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Go See these Exhibitions Winter 2016

Dog Star's Winter 2016 List of Museum Exhibitions
(An Intentionally Incomplete List)

Ebony G. Patterson: Dead Treez

November 10, 2015 to April 3, 2016
Museum of Art & Design (MAD Museum) 

This Place
February 12–June 5, 2016
This Place explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers.
Brooklyn Museum

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008

November 20, 2015–March 13, 2016
Brooklyn Museum 

Vigée Le Brun

Woman Artist in Revolutionary France
February 15–May 15, 2016
Met Museum


Group show of five artists
January 14-April 17, 2016
Whitney Museum

Warhol By the Book

Andy's artwork for book projects
February 5-May 15, 2016
The Morgan Library

Bearing Witness

Drawings by William Gropper
February 14-July 31 2016
Queens Museum

The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems
Children's book author and illustrator
March 18, 2016 - September 25, 2016
NY Historical Society

Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom

January 15, 2014 - Winter 2018 (ongoing)
Brooklyn Historical Society

Munch and Expressionism
February 18-June 13, 2016
Neue Galerie

Sanctuary for Rescued Horses

Jennifer lives on the grounds of a bona fide horse haven. Not only is she surrounded by beautiful horses, but she’s also able their savior. The Duchess Sanctuary is a 1,120-acre facility located near Oakland, OR. 

It’s a gorgeous, vast oasis for 200 formerly abused, abandoned, neglected, and homeless horses. Each horse has a name, a personality, likes, and dislikes — and amazingly, Jennifer knows them all by heart. 

In the video below, Jennifer says many of the rescued horses come from the PMU, or Pregnant Mare Urine, industry. Premarin uses conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs) as the hormonal component in the Premarin family of products used to treat menopausal symptoms in women. 

According to, “Harvested for their urine, the horses suffer terribly for the production of this drug. They are kept continually pregnant in stalls too small for them to even turn around in order for their urine to be collected by filthy, bulky tubing attached to their bodies. When they can no longer reproduce quickly they are sent to the slaughterhouse. Their meat is then sold for human consumption or dog food.” The Duchess Sanctuary is operated by The Fund for Animals in partnership with The HSUS.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


From the archive, 26 August 1974: An interview with Josephine Baker 

From a banana-clad dancer at the Folies Bergère to a Croix de Guerre from De Gaulle himself, Tim Murari meets the enigmatic Josephine Baker
An enchanting child opens the door, gravely extends her hand and says, “Bon jour Monsieur.” She isn’t more than 10, her hair curly and long, skin a pale porcelain brown, a delicate vivacious face which will outlast beauty, and inexhaustible energy that keeps her jumping on the bed as if it were a trampoline, until her mother, Josephine Baker, finishes her telephone call.


Monday, January 4, 2016

10 Habits That Change Boys Into Men

The demise of our culture will result from the demise of its men if something isn’t changed quickly. Far too many men remain directionless, devastated and scared children. 

Male suicide rate increased to three to four times higher than the female suicide rate. Men are twice as likely as women to become alcoholics. And males are far more likely to commit juvenile crime. Much has been said and written in recent years about the challenges of men and boys. 

A sampling of book titles includes: 

Why There Are No Good Men Left 
The Demise of Guys The End of Men 
Why Boys Fail
The End of Men, And The Rise of Women 
Boys Adrift 
Manning Up: How The Rise Of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys 

A common theme is that men and boys have become increasingly confused about their identity and role in society. Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up, put it this way: “It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that whereas girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess, or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors of women and children; this was always their primary social role. 

Today, however, with women moving ahead in an advanced economy, provider husbands and fathers are now optional, and the character qualities men had needed to play their role—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete and even a little embarrassing.” It is the norm in Hollywood films, TV and cable shows, and even commercials to portray men as incompetent, immature, or self-absorbed. 

This underlying message has subtly and increasingly become the collective unconscious with devastating repercussions. Academically, it is reported in the United States that: Girls outperform boys now at every level—from elementary school through graduate school. By eighth grade, only 20 percent of boys are adept in writing and 24 percent adept in reading. Young men’s SAT scores in 2011 were the lowest they’ve been in 40 years. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to drop out of both high school and college. It is predicted that by 2016, women will earn 60 percent of bachelor’s and 63 percent of master’s degrees. Boys make up two-thirds of students in special education remedial programs. Women deserve the increased success they are getting. They’ve been oppressed for far too long. They’re hungrier and more motivated than most men. And hopefully society will continue to allow them the increased equality they deserve. 

However, this article’s focus is on helping the struggling and confused young man. Indeed, many young men have taken the adverse cues of society as an excuse to evade responsibility and never really grow up. If you are a young man and you’re struggling, you are not alone. This article is intended to challenge you to rethink your entire approach to life. If applied, these habits will radically set you apart from the decaying norm. 

Read more at Observer

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Discover Idan Raichel

Led by Israeli keyboardist/producer Idan Raichel seeks to give voice to the amazingly diverse blend of world cultures that comprise Israel's colorful musical landscape. After time spent with the army rock band in which he cut his teeth, touring and performing for troops all over the nation, Idan took work at a boarding school for immigrant youth.

Exposed for the first time to Israel's growing populations of Ethiopian Jews through his students, Idan began to fall in love and identify with Ethiopian folk music. He also found that most of the immigrant boys he worked with were forced to shun the culture of their homeland in desperate hopes of assimilating into mainstream Israeli society. Inspired by this realization, Idan began investing time in learning more about the many immigrant cultures that made up Israel.

Hanging out with a wide variety of musicians, Idan hoped to encourage his students and new friends to embrace and live out their native cultural heritage. In the meantime Idan became an established supporting musician, working as a sideman alongside some of the nation's most important pop acts. With his ever-growing number of world musician friends and pop production knowledge, Idan set to recording some of the richly multicultural music he'd begun to create.

Over 70 musicians contributed to the demo recording that Raichel used to garner the support he would need for a full-length production. With the support of Helicon Records, the Idan Raichel Project was born, featuring the songwriting and production of Raichel, and musical contributions from an amazingly diverse cast of players.

The record created buzz worldwide, showered with praise by some of the industry's most influential voices. It was a breakout success in Israel and throughout the region. Raichel and his group maintained a busy touring schedule in response to their explosive popularity.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Receiving Black Dolls For Christmas Brought Two Young Girls To Tears

from Essence Magazine Online: 

With the advent of social media, the general barometer for human sensitivity is on a sharp decline. In a world where everything is put on display for likes and in hopes of "breaking" the internet, people go to great extremes to make a video or a photo go "viral." In post-modern society nothing is off limits; from subtle racism to forcing children to tears—anything goes. The below video posted to YouTube earlier today, raises questions about cultural sensitivity, the malicious use of video, and private moments that end up on display. The ESSENCE team had a myriad of responses to this video and we have a few questions for those persons behind the filming of it.

Go here for the rest of the story

Hell's Club Movie Star Mashup

How about a mash-up in which characters from more than a dozen movies all meet on the same dance floor? 

 The entire short film is a genius example of both editing and compositing, and is also a bit of criticism on how in so many Hollywood films with a nightclub scene in it, every one of them is seemingly shot and lit the same, whether it’s on another planet in a galaxy far, far away, or one set firmly in the Disco ’70s. So just who’s partyin’ at Hell’s Clib? We’ve got Anakin and Obi-Wan of course, but also Tom Cruise, as both his character from the movie Cocktail and the movie Collateral (Tom seems a bit freaked out upon seeing his double, I must say.) He’s not the only actor appearing in Club Hell as two different characters” John Travolta appears as both his Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction roles. And then there’s Pinhead from Hellraiser, Arnie as the Terminator, Robocop…the list goes on and on.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year (Journeys in 2016)

Buy yourself an inexpensive notebook. Consider one of those school B/W Composition Notebooks (durable and pages won't fall out). Write JOURNEYS on the front of it.
Every good life should be rich in projects: new approaches to how to get things done. Our projects might be for novels, businesses, film scripts, children, trips, home decoration schemes or political ambitions. Our lives are filled with journeys of both the outer and inner kinds. The two sorts need a journal to capture them. Sometimes, we’ll be recording a trip around the Cape of Good Hope or five days in Rome. At other times, without anything mystical being meant by this, we’ll be involved in tracking an inner journey: a trip towards a different kind of relationship with our work, our families or our partners.
Both physical and emotional journeys need careful monitoring, or we are likely to become lost, directionless and forgetful. We need to record the most significant moments that befall us: the surprise we feel in a new place (it might be the mountains behind Tokyo or the shores of the Bosphorus) or in front of a new idea or emotion (perhaps we’re just reading Lao-Tzu or properly falling in love for the first time, with our child or a partner). 
We should appreciate the triumphs and the difficulties of our journeys – just as a climber might record how they endured a blizzard, or what they learned from a fall. A journal is a small, elegant tool that makes up for our endemic forgetfulness. It sums up mental and physical travel; it gives longer life to fleeting inspirations and sensations; it decodes experiences; it preserves the treasures we have stumbled upon along the way. It will stand as a record of who we are.
What we often crave from our travels are souvenirs. But good souvenirs are desperately thin on the ground. When we go on trips, gift shops will push miniature camels or plastic Eiffel Towers on us. When we retire after a lifetime in the office, we’re given a framed photo. We mark the journey to university graduation with a gown and a certificate. We need better than this. What we need, above all, are records of sensations and ideas. We need to be able to read, many years from now, about what we felt and how it marked us. This is a place to jot down where we have been, in our minds and on the earth – and why it mattered.