Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Morandi at the Met

Would LOVE to get to the Morandi show at the Met before it goes down...not likely though. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things...they do pass.

A few things I wanna note:

1. In a beautiful review in the New Yorker Peter Schjeldahl writes:

"Even his effulgently pinkish floral still-lifes abjure virtuosity, though they beguile." what?!

thanks for the tear and share, Dad. loved the review, really; but that line got another tear out and got taped into my moleskine.

2. Following is the credit for the exhibition:

The exhibition is made possible by Jane and Robert Carroll. Additional support is provided by Isabella del Frate Rayburn and Maurice Kanbar.

Maurice Kanbar?! Gotta find out what's the story there...Maurice?

3. Further as to the credits, it reads: The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and MAMbo—Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna.

"MAMbo—Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna"?! WINNER: Best Acronym of the Week.

Beautiful Words from Middlesex

On the whole write-down-the-words-you-don't-know and look-them-up-later, like-you-learned-in-high-school thing...and like other luscious works, like Lolita, there're some words in Middlesex what are even sexy when described at m-w.com.

Main Entry: gib·bous. Pronunciation: \ˈji-bəs, ˈgi-\. Function: adjective. Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin gibbosus humpbacked, from Latin gibbus hump Date: 14th century.
1 a: marked by convexity or swelling b of the moon or a planet : seen with more than half but not all of the apparent disk illuminated. 2: having a hump : humpbacked.

Main Entry: bowd·ler·ize Pronunciation: \ˈbōd-lə-ˌrīz, ˈbau̇d-\ Function: transitive verb. Inflected Form(s): bowd·ler·ized; bowd·ler·iz·ing. Etymology: Thomas Bowdler †1825 English editor. Date: 1836
1 : to expurgate (as a book) by omitting or modifying parts considered vulgar 2 : to modify by abridging, simplifying, or distorting in style or content.

Main Entry: louche \ˈlüsh\. Function: adjective. Etymology: French, literally, cross-eyed, squint-eyed, from Latin luscus blind in one eye. Date: 1819.
: not reputable or decent.

...then use them in a sentence:

...the below is NOT from Middlesex, just some wiki-entry about absinthe...makes my eyes cross and I hope the part about me appearing gibbous gets bowdlerized...

Traditionally, absinthe is poured into a glass over which a specially designed slotted spoon is placed. A sugar cube is then deposited in the bowl of the spoon. Ice-cold water is poured or dripped over the sugar until the drink is diluted to a ratio between 3:1 and 5:1. During this process, the components that are not soluble in water, mainly those from anise, fennel, and star anise, come out of solution and cloud the drink. The resulting milky opalescence is called the louche (Fr. "opaque" or "shady"). The addition of water is important, causing the herbs to "blossom" and bringing out many of the flavors originally overpowered by the anise.

MAGNES Keats Opening

Life is funny. The Museum had a really successful opening last Saturday evening with some 100 people or more at the downtown building.

My family was there, excepting that my wife K was back in New York, for Sacha J.'s wedding. On Saturday evening she was out on Long Island with our dear friends A & A who are expecting. Yay.

My dad came out for the opening. And so he got to hear the daughter of his dear friend Marty Rabkin speak on behalf of the University of California.

Dad went to Fieldston with Marty -- funny that my father should find Marty's daughter as part of a program developed in part by his son.

Marty also dances with my dad's nephew (my cousin)...but that's a whole different story.

Frances Dinkelspiel, V.P. Board of Trustees, MAGNES

Michelle Rabkin
, Associate Director, Arts Research Center

Nana Ursi, Li'l E and his friend Tom Carter, doing hands-on activities

My dad and Seymour Fromer, Founder and Director Emeritus, Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley, CA...and Tom in the background.

Some More Magnes : Some More Keats

Wired.com: How did the Atheon begin?

Jonathon Keats: I heard about the Beyond Belief conference in 2006. Richard Dawkins was there, and Steven Weinberg, and Neil Degrasse Tyson. They were trying to figure out what science might do to provide an alternative to religion. There wasn't a consensus, but there was momentum towards the idea that science could do everything religion could, that it could be everything religion had been.

What would the form be, I wondered, of a church to science? What would happen within that church, in the most literal terms? And what would the fallout be if religion became scientific, and science a surrogate for religion?

Wired.com: Do you actually take the worship of the science seriously, or is it a parody?

Keats: I hope not. If it's interpreted as one, I will have failed. It's not a parody any more than a thought experiment is a parody.

Wired.com: Are you promoting science as a religion?

Keats: No. I'm just the cheapest labor available to myself, so I end up enacting this. I need to do it earnestly, to make the Atheon work as well as possible — but I'm just as interested in the question of what religion becomes as science, and vice versa. I certainly don't have answers, but I do have questions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

At the Speed of Light...

The Mayer Lehman family, Tarrytown, New York, ca. 1888. Herbert and Irving Lehman are in the front row. Photo courtesy of the Herbert H. Lehman Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York.

Man, it's a trip to think about how long history has taken and Lehman trades hands in like a day?!......O.K., whatever, where's Drexel Burnham? Dean Whitter? That's all lots of history book stuff made up of people and institutions, etc, etc... But wasn't there some deliberation before those things sunk, got absorbed or whatever?

Time is collapsing in upon us. What a thrilling time to be alive!

Thanks, Frances Dinkelspiel for prividing even more historical context in her piece in the L.A. Times -- kinda makes you feel like yesterday's today.

Frances is author of the forthcoming book Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California.

Oh, and if you want to set up your own shrine to all this speed of light stuff, go see the The Atheon @magnes.org.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bradford Washburn

...with a long-ass bio, cartographer, photographer & Director of the Museum of Science, Boston ?!...from 1939-1980!

dry fur

only 50!

Really?!....what a trip.

FW: springs coronet on Second Life at WMA

Here is the avatar springs coronet (A.K.A. Melissa Rosengard, costco photo contest winner and former head of the Western Museums Association) presenting LIVE at the WMA Conference in Anchorage, AK.

So far this has been a great show! Thanks, Melissa, for turning us on to The Institute for the Future.

..the Palinicity is scary up here in Alaska, though. I feel as if I am in a bunker, in-the-thick behind enemy lines amidst the culture wars. I don't blame Alaskans, per se, more Sarah Palin's willingness to run as a vice president of the United States.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bonesetter's Daughter

A little bit of history. How can you not be a little bit of history?

Writer David Foster Wallace found dead

3. Last night I found myself at an avant-garde dance performance. Not my usual Saturday evening pass time, and my mind wandered as the evening progressed. At one point I started thinking about David Foster Wallace. speculating if he would possibly glean meaning from the dancers festooned in plastic shopping bags as they twirled around the stage. I can only speculate that brilliantly gifted humans such as him, Spaulding Grey, and countless others, could not bear the terrible beauty that they saw so clearly and tried to alert the rest of us to. I'm so sorry, so sorry, we have lost him.
Submitted by: Zulu as Kono
8:36 PM PDT, Sep 14, 2008

LOVE IT ALL ABOVE, people. find the time to pull away and say, "Love it all above." Let the mantra rise you up and raise the bar and may you say, "Love it all above." Do not give in. Adore an article and let the rest be part of the great giving in. Love it. Love it all above.

How sad that our very best a brightest "check out."

Stop this trend. O.K.?

What were you intending to do when you started this book?

I wanted to do something sad. I'd done some funny stuff and some heavy, intellectual stuff, but I'd never done anything sad. And I wanted it not to have a single main character. The other banality would be: I wanted to do something real American, about what it's like to live in America around the millennium.

And what is that like?

There's something particularly sad about it, something that doesn't have very much to do with physical circumstances, or the economy, or any of the stuff that gets talked about in the news. It's more like a stomach-level sadness. I see it in myself and my friends in different ways. It manifests itself as a kind of lostness. Whether it's unique to our generation I really don't know.

click it!

This is Classic

Frankly, Hillary deserves better, but the Palin is so necessary. This must be stopped.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"A little Richard goes a long, long way..."

What a BRILLIANT line...who'N the FFF is this?! Thanks, Tosh, for making this Virginia Plain...

Who eFFin' the FFF Jobriath is....?

Changing of the Guard

What My Dear Friend Billy Writes...

Click the pic to read "16 Reasons Why Sarah Palin Sucks" and click the link here to read Billy Smash.

Dig the New Breed!

Here's what Billy say:

Palin-icity: The trick of being an expert on something due to its proximity

Hey Thanks Sarah Palin !

Thanks to your repeated claim to foreign policy experience due to Alaksa being close to Russia, I too can claim expertise in a countless number of things that I have no fucking clue about.

Pressed about what insights into recent Russian actions she gained by living in Alaska, Palin answered: “They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”

So if you have any illnesses you need identified, go ahead and ask me. I’m not a doctor and I have no clue about science or medicine, but I do live near a doctor’s office. I see it every day.

Thanks to the Palin doctrine, I also prepared to represent myself in all legal proceedings. There are many lawyers near my home. Thanks to my “Palinicity” to them, if you ever need legal advice, I’m your man.

Palinicity means that I can cook nearly anything, thanks to my local restaurants….
…that I am an art historian, due to the fine museums in my city of London
…that I can Palinicity means that I can consider myself a qualified electrician, since I watch a lot of TV
…that I can perform the sacraments of the church, due to all the houses of worship near my home

But perhaps coolest of all, because of all the planes I see everyday criss-crossing the sky, I now consider myself to be a qualified pilot. Anyone want to get on a plane being piloted by me? Come on! I’ve got Palinicity, and that means you should feel confident putting your lives in my otherwise ignorant redneck hands.

Good luck America !

Billy used to live in America. Now he lives in London. Go, Billy, Go! We miss you, but we understand....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Go, Tom, Go.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has appointed Tom Campbell as the new Director. YAY!!

I worked with Tom when he very first arrived at the Met and I was on the team that helped make the Ratti Center happen in its final stages.

He is a scholarly and tenacious guy and a GREAT pick. A real 'dark horse," though. Few on the inside thought he was one of the very strongest candidates, I think -- maybe they were being coy.

Right now, I am most thrilled in how it is an endorsement of young leadership.

May 17, 2008 2:40 pm US/Eastern
New Leader Is Youngest In NAACP History
NEW YORK (AP) ― The NAACP chose 35-year-old activist and former news executive Ben Jealous as its president Saturday, making him the youngest leader in the 99-year history of the nation's largest civil rights organization.

Daniel Sokatch Named CEO of Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
April 9, 2008
(San Francisco, CA) – Daniel J. Sokatch has been named Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (JCF) effective July 15, 2008...Sokatch, 40, graduated from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy with an MA in Law and Diplomacy, earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School, and a BA in History from Brandeis University.

The Debate about What This Means for Museums Will Continue

The Wall Street Journal's By Eric Gibson writes:

"By extension, the appointment shows that the board itself understands what a museum is supposed to be. It isn't just a pleasure dome, though it should be a source of pleasure. Nor is it a place where the public must be, to use some of today's trendy argot, "challenged"—force-fed unpalatable or shocking art like the inmates at some Communist re-education camp because the cultural commissars think it's good for them. The Met's trustees clearly see the art museum, instead, as an institution that society relies on to preserve, present and interpret its cultural patrimony in order to answer the questions famously posed by Paul Gauguin in his 1897-98 painting "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?"

In this regard, perhaps the most revealing passage in yesterday's announcement was not the recitation of Mr. Campbell's scholarly credentials, the list of exhibitions he's organized and his other professional accomplishments, nor the account of his steady upward rise through the ranks. It was board chairman James R. Houghton's praise for "his great passion for art."

that's so weird and misguided, i am not quite sure what to say?...why quote Guaguin's cultural appropriations in the service of this salient line of inquiry? o.k. whatever.

Go, Tom, go.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Oh, William Safire, Go Sc&ew Y'self...

Man, I ain't gonna read that On Language column NO MORE. And I think he shows up for synagogue where my dad and sister go sometimes. If I see him there, I'm gonna kick him so hard inthe shins that he'll recall the physical pain like an emotion, or a smell.

"In willingly taking up the two-edged sword of maverickism; in spelling out his frequent fights against the sclerotic, cozy two-party establishment; in zinging that 'big-spending, do-nothing, me-first-country-second Washington crowd'; in choosing an exciting new running mate even as Obama was splashing about in the news media
adulation of his smoothly delivered acceptance extravaganza, McCain stiffly stole the clothes of change.

That last paragraph befits a speechwriter’s peroration, not the soberly sage, almost bipartisan analysis I originally intended. Note the incidental pop at 'media adulation,' a red flag to the arugula-munching 'panjandrums of the opinion media,' in Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s phrase, gleefully waved by Sarah Palin and most other Republican convention speakers. McCain, who reveled in media-darlingism eight years ago, did not participate in such shooting at literate fish in a barrel."

oooooooooooooooo, it makes me shiver...like now I am in the company of evil. And evil will spread as this election rolls forward.

And Safire goes on to describe himslef, "As one whose only claim to coinage fame is in Spiro Agnew’s 1970 nattering nabobs of negativism, I have an attack dog in that fight..."

Um, Mr. Safire, is that your Spiro Agnew dressed in the outfit of the Klan and carrying clubs in Philip Guston's drawing? Was Guston amongst a swarm of Americans who thought Agnew was the off-white, fleshy underbelly of all things bad in America at one point? Didn't his boss get fired and thrust from the national and international stage?

Who would BRAG about crafting that phrase and how it was used. And why isn't that man in jail?

idolizing djia

“The trouble, in my opinion, with corporate America today is that everything is thought of in quarters,” Mr. Kravis said in an interview with the American Academy of Achievement several years ago. “Analysts push them: ‘What are you going to earn this quarter?’

We say to the management of companies: ‘You are here today. Where do you want to be five years from now, and how are you going to get there?’ ”

I knew that the country's profound idolatry surrounding the Dow Jones Industrial Average was detrimental, but I hadn't also considered the remarkably deleterious effect of the observance of "the quarterly result"...thank you Mr. Kravis.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


ValleyWag has written about MAGNES?! What is this ValleyWag what writes about MAGNES?

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Friday, September 05, 2008

In the Middle of Middelsex, well a little more well along than that...

This picture, it is not me. It is entitled, "Alessio vs Middlesex" ...and it is from Hitchcockian's Photostream on flickr.

It takes a lot of work, reading...to finish Middlesex, I guess.

I am getting nearer to the end. And it still feels like one of the finest works of American fiction I have ever had the good fortune to spend time with...American fiction? International fiction? Was Lolita American fiction or international fiction about the American ideal?

There's a lot of connections here -- the necessarily circular narrative, the sense that you know how it ends before it begins (careful, I have not actually finished Middlesex, though it has ended itself several times within the same book...like Lolita which commences with its own culmination -- a feeling so succinctly captured in the film...Shelley Winters, Sellers as Clare Quilty, the nefarious, insipid and insouciant Clare Quilty -- oh my FFFFin' gosh. get in a the g'dern car and drive, Humbert Humbert. Just drive!)

But we are back to Middlesex, the early twenty-first century novel, not the quintessential twentieth century novel. neither temporal condition signifying anything really...

Eugenides says,"like Tiresias — I wanted to write about a real hermaphrodite. I wanted to be accurate about the medical facts.

[An alternate story told by the poet Pherecydes was followed in Callimachus' poem "The Bathing of Pallas"; in it, Tiresias was blinded by Athena after he stumbled onto her bathing naked.[4] His mother, Chariclo, a nymph of Athena, begged her to undo her curse, but Athena could not; instead, she cleaned his ears,[5] giving him the ability to understand birdsong, thus the gift of augury.]

Eugenides: I went to medical libraries and read a lot of books. The genetic condition that I found happened to be a recessive mutation that only occurs in isolated communities where there's been a certain amount of inbreeding. At that point, I saw the possibility to bring in some of my family's story, the story of Greeks coming from Asia Minor, and I realized I had a large epic.

Eugenides: Since it's about genetics, I thought the book should be a novelistic genome; that is, it should contain some of the oldest traits of writing and storytelling — it begins with epic events, old fashioned, almost Homeric ideas — and as it progresses it should gradually become a more deeply psychological, more modern novel."

Eugenides: Was it Flannery O'Connor who said that all you need to know to be a writer you learn by the time you're fourteen? Somebody.

magnes goes boing boing

SF artist makes a temple to science
Posted by Lisa Katayama, September 5, 2008 2:27 PM

Do you feel like biology and physics have done more for you than Allah or Jesus? Observing that "the essence of religion is stained glass and song," San Francisco-based artist Jonathon Keats is transforming a two-story Berkeley building into a makeshift temple for people who worship science called the Atheon.

Instead of telling the story of baby Jesus, the Atheon's stained glass windows will show cosmic microwave background radiation made from NASA satellite data. And since the interior of the building is still under construction, templer-goers will have to either pray from the sidewalk or in front of a glowing web site from their computers at home. Keats even made a song of worship; he collaborated with Virginia astronomer Mark Whittle to come up with a canon of sounds from three hypothetical universes called Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? They won't be playing it live at the temple, but you can listen to it on your cell phone by calling a special phone number. Church service starts on September 27.

Douglas Rushkoff

I am in the middle of an e-mail exchange with Douglas Rushkoff and I FFFFin' love it!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Oh, it's ON now...


Some Kinda New Jew Review

I remember too vividly seeing Joey Ramone around the Lower East Side when I lived there. Because Joey Ramone was why I lived on the Lower East Side.

Thanks Francesco Spagnolo for the link.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Now see Princess Padmé (right) confused by seeing both Senator Palpatine (center) and the Emperor (left) together.

This is an ancient trick of the sith -- to split in two and dress in pastels to confound the unsuspecting.

Poor Padmé.

Palpatine -- Must I remind the Senator from Malastare that negotiations are
continuing with the separatists. Peace is our objective here…not war.

The Senators yell pros and cons. Mas Amedda tries to calm things down. Senator Padmé Amidala, with Captain Typho, Jar Jar, and Dormé, maneuvers her pod into the center of the vast arena.

Padmé -- My noble colleagues, I concur with the Supreme Chancellor. At all costs, we do not want war!

The Senate goes quiet, then there is an outburst of cheering and applause.

Palpatine -- It is with great surprise and joy the chair recognizes the Senator
from Naboo, Padmé Amidala.

Padmé -- Less than an hour ago, as assassination attempt was made against my life. One of my bodyguards and six others were ruthlessly and senselessly murdered.
I was the target but, more importantly, I believe this security measure before
you was the target. I have led the opposition to build an army… but there is someone
in this body that will stop at nothing to assure its passage…