Sunday, September 8, 2019

A Summer Pastime: Viewing Public Art in NYC

Ryan Sullivan | High Line Art

Sadly, summer is ending along with one of our favorite summer pastimes, which is viewing public (abstract) art. To name a few, we were fortunate to view Ryan Sullivan's paintings exhibited on the High Line.


Joseph La Piana Tension Sculpture C, 2019

Joseph La Piana's Tension Sculpture(s) on Park Avenue. 

Mark Manders: Tilted Head 

And Mark Manders' Tilted Head in Central Park.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Does Fiction Reveal Writers?


Do you agree with Naipaul? We say that "never" and "totally" are hyperbolic, but we generally agree with Naipaul. And Naipaul's quote is interesting in light of Henry Miller's and Vladimir Nabokov's oeuvres. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Best Books About Writers


This excerpt from Katy Waldman's New Yorker review of Andrew Martin's Early Work confirmed one of my concerns about white people who listen to hardcore rap:

"Yeah, I'm pretty into monotonous drug rap right now," she said. "I mean, like everybody. I guess it's the usual racist thing, where white people like it because it takes their worst suspicions about minorities and confirms them in lurid and entertaining ways?"

However, while reading the novel, I found the references to writing, novelists, poets, books, and publishing intriguing, which reminded me that the best books and films about writers/artists are the ones that depicts the writers writing. (Interestingly, Early Work's narrator opined that Balthus' perverted paintings of girls and cats are "wonderful".)


Unlike Olivier Assayas' Something in the Air (2012) and Personal Shopper (2016), I was disappointed with Non-Fiction (2018) [French: Doubles vies] because, although the dialogue about writing and publishing was extremely interesting, the writer wasn't shown honing his craft - not one time.

For the record, our top three books and films about writers/artists are:

Books
The Tenants Bernard Malamud
Transparent Things Vladimir Nabokov
Look at the Harlequins Vladimir Nabokov

Films
The Tenants (2005)
Something in the Air (2012) 
Personal Shopper (2016)



Saturday, July 27, 2019

Writer's Block = Lazy Writer?


I've written a number of books, and I've never suffered from writer's block - thank God. 

But I don't know if I would subscribe to Tom Clancy's notion, in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), that writer's block is synonymous with laziness (i.e., the antithesis of grit).

Tom Clancy: "I don't subscribe to the notion of writer's block."
Female Admirer: "You never experience it?"
Tom Clancy: "Writer's block is a term invented by the writing community to justify their laziness. My success is nothing more than that I have the determination and stamina [i.e., grit] to sit and get the work done."





Friday, July 26, 2019


Universe Size Comparison (3D)

I am one person out of (over) 7,000,000,000 people on the planet Earth.

Earth is one out of eight planets that are orbiting the the Sun.

The Sun is one star out of 300,000,000,000 stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

The Milky Way is one galaxy out of (over) 200,000,000,000 galaxies. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

National Museum of African American History: GOOD TIMES


We recently visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C..  Although a bustling and entertaining city, we had no intention on returning to D.C. any time soon;so, we perused the entire library in one visit! Overall, it was an enlightening experience, but three exhibits stood out:

1. The New York Conspiracy, 1741 where enslaved Africans and poor whites conspired to torch New York City, execute affluent whites, and appoint a new king and governor. The interracial rebels set firer to the governor's mansion and around NYC . Ultimately, a number revolters were accused of conspiracy and were harshly punished. 

2. Jimmie Walker's hat, Good Times, 1974-1979

April 4 by Sam Gilliam
3. And the abstract art in the Visual Art & The American Experience room

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Review: Apple News+ | For Voracious Magazine Readers


We're avid readers of The New YorkerNew York MagazineVanity Fair and the Arts section of The New York Times, but unless we can find an Instagram deal, the subscriptions can be cost prohibitive for most New York City based writers. 

That's why we signed up for Apple's News+ where we get subscriptions to the The New YorkerNew York Magazine, and Vanity Fair for less than $10 per month. And since subscribing, we've started reading The Hollywood Reporter for intriguing news about the film, television and streaming industries and Adweek for inside news about the advertising industry. 

Admittedly, it took us some time to get used to reading avidly on an iPhone, and we still have to get The New York Times via a relative's (free) student account, but if you're a voracious magazine reader, News+ may be a good investment. 


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Was Shakespeare a Woman?



In her June 2019 Atlantic essay, Elizabeth Winkler asked "Was Shakespeare a Woman?" I won't get into the reasons that Winkler gave for Emilia Bassano possibly being the real Shakespeare, but I'm going to share her reasons for why Shakespeare possibly wasn't Shakespeare.

Their doubt is rooted in an empirical conundrum. Shakespeare’s life is remarkably well documented, by the standards of the period—yet no records from his lifetime identify him unequivocally as a writer. The more than 70 documents that exist show him as an actor, a shareholder in a theater company, a moneylender, and a property investor. They show that he dodged taxes, was fined for hoarding grain during a shortage, pursued petty lawsuits, and was subject to a restraining order. The profile is remarkably coherent, adding up to a mercenary impresario of the Renaissance entertainment industry. What’s missing is any sign that he wrote.

No such void exists for other major writers of the period, as a meticulous scholar named Diana Price has demonstrated. Many left fewer documents than Shakespeare did, but among them are manuscripts, letters, and payment records proving that writing was their profession.

A wealthy man when he retired to Stratford, he was meticulous about bequeathing his properties and possessions (his silver, his second-best bed). Yet he left behind not a single book, though the plays draw on hundreds of texts, including some—in Italian and French—that hadn’t yet been translated into English. Nor did he leave any musical instruments, though the plays use at least 300 musical terms and refer to 26 instruments. He remembered three actor-owners in his company, but no one in the literary profession. Strangest of all, he made no mention of manuscripts or writing. 










Sunday, April 28, 2019

[Asian] Students for Fair Admissions Misdirected Beef


Per The Harvard GazetteAfrican-Americans constitute 15.5 percent of the Harvard class of 2022, Asian-Americans 22.7 percent, Latinos 12.2 percent, Native Americans 2 percent, and Native Hawaiians 0.4 percent with whites constituting almost a whopping 50 percent. 
However, NBC news posted (Feb. 14, 2019) from the Associated Press article "Affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard in judge's hands":
A federal judge will now decide whether Harvard University intentionally discriminates against Asian-American applicants, an allegation made in a 2014 lawsuit brought by Students for Fair Admissions [i.e., Asian students who were rejected by Harvard] who built their case around a Duke University professor's analysis of Harvard admissions records that concluded that the Harvard's personal rating, which scores applicants on traits including "courage" and "likability", works against Asian-Americans while favoring [B]lack and Hispanic students. 
How could those Asians and that Duke professor blame African-American and Latino students for their rejection letters when Whites are the most accepted demographic? Whites should have been the number one suspects. 
Maybe their views have changed since the news of the college cheating scandal broke where David K. Li reported for NBC News (March 13, 2019) that:
[Mark] Riddell, a 2004 Harvard graduate and a four-year tennis letter winner, is a key figure in the massive college-admissions probe dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. The federal probe announced Tuesday ensnared dozens of parents who allegedly paid millions of dollars to falsify college applications and get their children into elite universities.
Riddell took SAT and ACT exams for students between 2012 and this past February, according to a criminal complaint. He was paid $10,000 per test, prosecutors said.
Olivia Jade & Lori Loughlin 
The most famous famous suspects in the college cheating scandal are actress Lori Loughlin and her influencer daughter Olivia Jade. According to the Vanity Fair article "'Operation Varsity Blues' Is the One Scam to Rule Them All" (MARCH 12, 2019), Loughlin and her husband paid $500,000 for Olivia to get into the University of Southern California. Shamelessly, Olivia shared with her influencees, "I don't really care about school."
Olivia Jade "I don't really care about school."
Thus, this is further evidence that the Students for Fair Admissions (i.e., Asian students who were rejected by elite schools.) have misdirected their beef that should be directed at privileged whites and not with underprivileged African-Americans and Latinos students.