Cloud-filled Canyon

from Tucson News Now

Grand Canyon filled with fog, spectacular photos

By Erin Jordan

click to open full-size photo

A ‘Temperature Inversion’ was responsible for this awesome sight.

Cold air was locked up in the Grand Canyon with warm air sitting above it.

The warm air acts like a lid, locking the cold air in the canyon and preventing movement and mixing between the two air masses.

The chilly air in the canyon cooled to the dew point and clouds formed, filling the canyon with fog.

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Landmark Johnie’s

from The LA Times

Johnie’s coffee shop designated L.A. landmark

By Catherine Saillant and David Zahniser

Johnie's coffee shop

(Cheryl A. Guerrero, Los Angeles Times / October 1, 2013)

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to make a closed coffee shop used in the movie “The Big Lebowski” a historic-cultural landmark.

Councilman Paul Koretz said Johnie’s at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue is one of the most notable examples of work by the firm Armet & Davis, the architectural firm that designed Norms, Pann’s and other diners across Southern California.

Koretz, who represents the area, said he hopes the property’s owners can be talked into reopening the building as a coffee shop. The structure, built in 1956, is on a corner where Metro is planning a subway stop.

Preservationists describe Johnie’s as one of the best remaining examples of Googie architecture, a style popularized in Southern California coffee shops and diners from the 1940s through the early 1960s. Googie structures were designed to draw motorists and feature upswept roofs, geometric shapes and the use of steel, glass and neon.

[ click to read full article at The LA Times ]

Beastie Girls

from The New York Times

Toy Company Pulls Beastie Boys Song From Viral Video


A San Francisco-area toy company offered an olive branch to the Beastie Boys on Wednesday, saying that it had no intentions of fighting the rap group over a popular online video that used a parody of the band’s song “Girls.” The company has removed the parody song from the video.

“We don’t want to fight with you,” the toy company, GoldieBlox, said in an open letter to the Beastie Boys. “We love you and we are actually huge fans.”

GoldieBlox, which makes toys and games designed to encourage young women’s interests in engineering, had gained widespread attention for the video, set to an alternate version of “Girls,” in which girls sang about all the feats of science they can accomplish. (In the original song, the Beastie Boys rapped about women’s prowess “to do the dishes” and “to clean up my room.”)

Last week, GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys, asserting what it said was its right to use its version of “Girls” in the video and saying that it had been created “to comment on the Beastie Boys song” and was “recognized by the press and the public as a parody and criticism of the original song.”

Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, the surviving members of the Beastie Boys, responded to the suit in an open letter on Monday. “As creative as it is,” they said of the video, “make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.”

“When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission,” the letter continued, “YOU sued US.”

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Brian Gone

from CNN

‘Family Guy’ shocker: Major character killed off

By Breeanna Hare

(CNN) — It’s a shame what “Family Guy” has done to its dog.

On Sunday’s episode of the animated Fox series, the Griffin family pooch, Brian, was killed. (Seriously.)

The intelligent and verbose pet was headed into the street to play with his ace companion, mischievous baby Stewie, when he was struck by an oncoming car. His injuries were so severe, he ended up having to say farewell to the family he’s bonded with since 1999.

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MOST WANTED – Richard Phillips and James Frey

from Harper’s Books

PHILLIPS, Richard and James Frey (text).

Most Wanted.

London: White Cube, (2011). First Editions. Quartos. Set of 10 books; each features the same internal content, but was issued with different images on the front and rear boards. Published in conjunction with the exhibition Richard Phillips: Most Wanted, White Cube Hoxton Square, London, January 28 – March 5, 2011. Includes reproductions of Phillips’ Most Wanted series, a collection of pastels and paintings of ten young celebrities, alongside paparazzi photographs of the same figures: Chace Crawford, Kristen Stewart, Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Momsen, Dakota Fanning, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and Robert Pattinson. With a text, titled Unwanted, by James Frey. Uniformly fine to near fine in illustrated boards. No jackets, as issued.

Item #17471

See all items in Art
See all items by textRichard PHILLIPSJames Frey

Price: $1,000.00

[ click to view and purchase at Harper’s Books ]

Eli Manning’s Special Balls

from The New York Times

Eli Manning’s Footballs Are Months in Making


Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — When Eli Manning drops back to throw his first pass Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, the football in his hands will be as familiar as an old friend.

That is because the ball has been scoured, scrubbed, soaked and seasoned, a breaking-in process that takes months and ensures that every ball used by the Giants in a game will meet Manning’s exact preferences. The leather will have been softened, the grip enhanced and the overall feel painstakingly assessed.

There are no new balls thrown around in a N.F.L. game. A new ball, despised for its sheen and waxy gloss, is as popular as a late hit.

For every N.F.L. game, each team has 12 to 20 balls that it has meticulously groomed and prepared according to the needs of its starting quarterback. The balls, brushed and primed using various obvious and semisecret techniques, bear the team logo and are switched out from sideline to sideline depending on which team is on offense.

That means that from series to series, the ball in play can feel wholly different, but each team’s quarterback always has a ball prepped by his equipment staff the way he likes it.

Nothing is left to chance. The Giants, for example, have a special set of a dozen pregame practice balls so Manning can warm up with footballs that will feel exactly the same as the game balls, which are inspected and approved by the game officials before play starts.

In all, there are always about 36 specially marked Eli Manning balls sequestered and protected in four large ball bags. If a coach looking for a ball at practice should unwittingly approach one of the bags, the team’s equipment director, Joe Skiba, will pounce: “Get away, those are Eli’s game balls.”

Skiba added: “No one is allowed to touch those balls. They’re precious jewels. Too much work has gone into them.”

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Warhol’s Missing Farrah

from McClatchyDC

The case of Farrah Fawcett’s Warhol portrait: Call Charlie’s Angels


WASHINGTON — Farrah Fawcett, iconic beauty. Ryan O’Neal, leading man. Andy Warhol, enfant terrible.

What could be missing from this 1970s soap opera?

It turns out that a very valuable Warhol painting of Fawcett allegedly is missing – and very much at the center of a tabloid-frenzied drama involving all three, even though Fawcett and Warhol are deceased.

Who owns the 1980 portrait of Fawcett by Warhol, done in his signature silk-screen pop art style, showing her with bright green eyes, eye makeup and red, red lips? O’Neal, her partner for many years, has it and says it’s his, but no less than the University of Texas Board of Regents is suing him, saying it’s missing from her bequest to her alma mater.

The drama will play out in Los Angeles Superior Court starting Wednesday, in a two-week trial with an all-star cast, including O’Neal; his son with Fawcett, Redmond O’Neal; celebrity Alana Stewart; and Fawcett’s fellow “Charlie’s Angel” Jaclyn Smith on the witness list.

To ramp up the voltage, O’Neal has a celebrity attorney, Martin Singer, described by The New York Times as “guard dog to the stars.”

Fawcett died of cancer in 2009 at age 62. She left all her artworks in her living trust to the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied before going to Hollywood in 1968 to become a model and actress.

But unbeknown to the university, a painting was missing. To the school’s surprise, it discovered there was not one Warhol painting of Fawcett, but two – the artist had painted nearly identical portraits at the same time – and they’d been in her Los Angeles home. The tipster was Fawcett’s secret Texas boyfriend. Only one of the “twin” portraits made it to Austin with her extensive art collection, where it’s on display at the university’s Blanton Museum of Art.

WES LANG (and James Frey)


Wes Lang Hardcover

by James Frey  (Author) , Wes Lang (Artist)

Wes Lang’s (born 1972) first monograph focuses on his works on paper–complicated arrangements of his typically American iconography, expertly rendered in ink and paint and juxtaposed in riotous combinations. These images, selected from a decade’s worth of material, range from the artist’s covers for a 2012 Grateful Dead box set chronicling their epic 1990 tour (fulfilling a teenage dream of Lang’s) to precise classical drawing reminiscent of a nineteenth-century illustrator, in a dizzying mix of American history, biker culture, tattoo iconography, ornament, Native American art, pin-ups, newspaper headlines and Taoist texts. This book–the only Wes Lang monograph in print–contains an essay by author James Frey and will undoubtedly appeal to both Lang’s substantial online following and to fans of Americana.

[ click to purchase at ]


from Page Six

History Channel plans to remake historically problematic ‘Roots’

By Eric Fettmann

History Channel plans to remake historically problematic ‘Roots’Levar Burton starred in “Roots” in 1977.

In the wake of successful slavery-themed movies like “12 Years a Slave,” “The Butler” and “Lincoln,” the History Channel just announced plans to remake “Roots,” the landmark 1977 mini-series that drew record ratings. How will they handle the hoax problem?

“Roots” was based on the late Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning runaway best-seller, which was billed as a factual account (albeit with some fictional embellishments) of his family’s history from Africa through slavery in the South to present times. All this was said to be based on generations of oral history corroborated by painstakingly researched outside documents.

But as I wrote in these pages back in 2002 (when ABC, which aired the original series, declined to broadcast a 25th anniversary tribute), historians and genealogists now widely agree that “Roots” has been discredited as a historical hoax.

More than a decade later, most people remain totally unaware of the troubling issues behind “Roots”….

[ click to continue reading at Page Six ]

The Inner Bach

from NPR

Bach Unwigged: The Man Behind The Music


This rare portrait of Bach, by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, hung in John Eliot Gardiner's home during World War II.

courtesy of William H. Scheide, Princeton, N.J.

Johann Sebastian Bach has been a central figure in the life of British conductor John Eliot Gardiner since he was a youngster. On his way to bed, he couldn’t help glancing up at the famous 18th-century portrait of Bach that hung in the first floor landing of the old mill house in Dorset, England where Gardiner was born. It was one of only two fully authenticated portraits of Bach by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, painted around 1750, and came to the Gardiner home in a knapsack, delivered on bicycle by a Silesian refugee who needed to keep it safe during World War II. Bach’s music also hung in the air of the Gardiner home. Each week the musically inclined family gathered for serious singalongs, which included Bach’s motets.

It’s a scene Gardiner sets at the beginning of his new book, BACH: Music in the Castle of Heaven, published today by Knopf. From his childhood interactions with Bach, Gardiner would grow up to become one of the composer’s greatest champions, creating his own orchestras (English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique) and choir (Monteverdi Choir) to play the music in historically informed performances.

Gardiner’s obsession with Bach culminated in 2000, when he and his musical forces (and a team of recording engineers) embarked on a massive pilgrimage. Traveling around Europe and the U.S., they performed all of Bach’s sacred cantatas (about 200 of them) on their appropriate Sundays in different churches.

Gardiner’s new book was more than 12 years in the making, and one of its goals is to get to know Bach the man a little better, since scant information has been passed down about his personal life. Bach was filled with contradictions, Gardiner discovered. He had anger management issues, and yet he had the capacity for tenderness.

“He had normal flaws and failings, which make him very approachable,” Gardiner says. “But he had this unfathomably brilliant mind and a capacity to hear music and then to deliver music that is beyond the capacity of pretty well any musician before or since.”

Despite Bach’s contradictions, Gardiner says, in my conversation with him below, the composer would have been a great guy to hang out with.

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‘This Middle Finger Is Loud And Proud.’

from Fox 2 Detroit

Bloomfield Hills man buys house next to ex-wife, erects giant middle finger statue

A photo of the statue CREDIT: LenkaTuohy Twitter account
A photo of the statue CREDIT: LenkaTuohy Twitter account

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (WJBK) – Nothing quite communicates the wrath of a scorned lover like the middle finger. But in Bloomfield Hills, this middle finger is loud and proud – in the form of a near 12-foot high statue one man erected next door to his ex-wife.

Alan Markovitz recently moved into the home where the statue was erected, which happens to be next to the home where his ex-wife now lives with her new lover, whom she reportedly had an affair with while being married to Markovitz.

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from Gallerist

Bacon Triptych Makes $142.4 M. at Christie’s, Record for Art at Auction

By Gallerist

(Courtesy Christie's)

(Courtesy Christie’s)

The art market entered uncharted territory tonight at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters, where auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen sold Francis Bacon’s 1969 triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud for $142.4 million, an all-time record for a work of art at auction, easily beating the $119.9 million paid for a pastel of Edvard Munch’s The Scream at Sotheby’s New York in May 2012. (Accounting for inflation, you can argue that figure, but in raw dollars, Bacon’s now the record holder.)

“Let’s start this at, oh, eight—ty million,” Mr. Pylkkänen said wryly from his podium, announcing the lot. And then they were off to the races. Bidding in the room climbed up to $100 million before it turned to a battle of telephone bidders, one eventually grabbing it for a $127 million hammer price. (The remaining $15 million and change is the buyer’s premium.) It took only six minutes.

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Stones Of Red Square

from The Guardian

Artist nails his scrotum to the ground in Red Square

Performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky stages protest at ‘apathy, political indifference and fatalism of Russian society’

by  in Moscow

Red Square has seen a lot over the centuries, from public executions to giant military parades, but a performance artist broke new ground on Sunday when he nailed his scrotum to cobblestones in a painful act of protest.

Pyotr Pavlensky said the protest was his response to Russia‘s descent into a “police state” and was timed to coincide with Police Day, which Russia’s law enforcement officials celebrated on Sunday.

“The performance can be seen as a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society,” Pavlensky said in a statement. “As the government turns the country into one big prison, stealing from the people and using the money to grow and enrich the police apparatus and other repressive structures, society is allowing this, and forgetting its numerical advantage, is bringing the triumph of the police state closer by its inaction.”

Pavlensky has a history of self-harming art, including sewing his lips together to protest against the jail sentences given to members of Pussy Riot and wrapping himself in barbed wire outside a Russian government building, which he said symbolised “the existence of a person inside a repressive legal system”.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]


from Letters of Note

I embrace you with all my heart

In 1957, Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, “for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times.” Shortly after the occasion, he wrote to his former teacher.

(Source: The First Man; Image: Albert Camus, via.)

19 November 1957

Dear Monsieur Germain,

I let the commotion around me these days subside a bit before speaking to you from the bottom of my heart. I have just been given far too great an honour, one I neither sought nor solicited.

But when I heard the news, my first thought, after my mother, was of you. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened.

I don’t make too much of this sort of honour. But at least it gives me the opportunity to tell you what you have been and still are for me, and to assure you that your efforts, your work, and the generous heart you put into it still live in one of your little schoolboys who, despite the years, has never stopped being your grateful pupil. I embrace you with all my heart.

Albert Camus

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