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Norco ’80

from Inside Hook

Inside One of the Most Spectacular and Dangerous Bank Heists in U.S. History

An excerpt from Peter Houlahan’s thrilling new book, “Norco ’80”

BY PETER HOULAHAN

Inside One of the Most Spectacular and Dangerous Bank Heists in U.S. History

Inside the Mira Loma House, George Smith and Chris Harven had been smoking weed and working their way through a six pack of Budweiser to keep their nerves down and their courage up. Laid out on the carpet of a back bedroom, an arsenal of weapons and survival supplies were grouped by purpose and ready to be loaded into a half dozen military duffel bags. The two yellow McDonald walkie-talkie radios to be used between Billy in the getaway van, George inside the bank sat off to the side.

Chris, Russ, and George would each enter the bank armed with semi-automatic assault rifles, Chris with his HK93, Russ with the Colt Shorty AR-15, and George with the Heckler .308. Manny would have the riot gun.

The serial numbers on all the guns had been covered up with electrical tape to avoid being readable on bank surveillance tapes. Each of the men would carry at least one side arm, George with a Browning .45 semi-automatic pistol shouldered holstered and another at his hip. Both George and Chris had hundreds of additional rounds of ammunition in fully loaded magazines strapped across their chests. In the front seat of the getaway van, driver Billy Delgado would also have a Colt AR-15 to go along with the .45 Colt automatic handgun tucked into a holster strapped around his right ankle.

For the rifles, George and Chris had made dozens of “jungle clips” allowing them to eject an empty magazine, flip it over, and load a full one in its place in a matter of seconds. Piggybacking three forty-round magazines together up-down-up as George and Chris had done gave the weapon a devastating 120-round capacity, which they were capable of emptying on a target in a little over a minute. Chris Harven alone had seventeen forty-round magazines: 680 extra rounds in total. In addition to this, boxes of extra ammunition, over 3,000 rounds of varying calibers, had already been packed into duffel bags.

Zipped up in two of the bags destined for the trunk of each cold getaway car was survival gear that included map books, compass, water purification tablets, field glasses, mess kits, gas masks, emergency blankets, extra clothing, and insulin vials and three syringes for Russell Harven. Half a dozen hunting knives, a nine-inch Bowie knife, and two machetes were split among survival kits. A Remington hunting rifle with scope and hundreds of rounds of H&H .357 cartridges would go into each trunk. The H&H .357 cartridge was designed primarily for taking down large and dangerous game. In other words, an “elephant gun.”

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on July 12, 2019 by Editor

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Bell By The Ocean

from SF Eater

World’s Only Beachside Taco Bell Now Serves Booze

The Pacifica Taco Bell reopens after a remodel on July 13, this time with beer, wine, and frozen drinks

by Ellen Fort

Inside Taco Bell in Pacifica Courtesy of Edelman

The Pacifica Taco Bell is legendary for its beachfront views and retro architecture. Now, after a remodel that began in November, the chain restaurant is back, and it’s got some exciting new features. 

The big news is that it’s now a Taco Bell Cantina, one of the chain’s restaurants that has been upgraded with alcoholic beverages. That means beer on draft and in bottles (local, imported, and domestic), boozy Twisted Freezes (margaritas and other cocktails), and wine will be available for consumption overlooking the beach.

According to Curbed SF, the building was originally built in the late 60’s as an A&W hamburger franchise, though it’s been a Taco Bell since the ‘80s. Now it features a mural by SF street artist Norah Bruhn, a glass-enclosed, indoor/outdoor fireplace, and a walk-up window so sandy diners can order from the outside. Like the chain’s other Cantinas, the interior has wood floors, tiled ceilings, exposed wooden ceiling beams, and trendy pendant lighting.

[ click to continue reading at SF Eater ]

Posted on July 11, 2019 by Editor

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Queen & Slim – Protest Art

from BLACKGIRLNERDS

Lena Waithe on Meeting James Frey and Using The Story of ‘Queen & Slim’ as Protest Art

By Jamie Broadnax

Photograph: David Levene

Lena Waithe is on fire with a never-ending series of projects under her belt, and this holiday season, her next film Queen & Slim will take you on a wild ride through some unexpected adventures.

One evening at a party, author James Frey approached Lena Waithe about a story involving a Black couple. A Black man and a Black woman on a first date. It’s not going well, but not going horribly either. They’re on their way home. They get pulled over. A cop gets aggressive. They kill him in self-defense, and they go. Frey knew that this was a story worth telling, but not through his lens.

Enter Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe (Netflix’s Master of None) and filmmaker Melina Matsoukas — the mastermind behind Beyonce’s “Formation” music video — and now we’re telling a story through the lens of brilliant Black visionaries that can add nuance with ease.

The unflinching new drama Queen & Slim released by Universal Pictures, stars Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya as Slim and Nightflyers‘ Jodie Turner-Smith as Queen. After Queen and Slim are pulled over in their vehicle, the situation escalates and Slim is forced to kill the police officer in self-defense. In a complicated situation predicated on a history of state-sanctioned violence and criminal injustice against African-Americans, the two fear for their lives and is forced to go on the run.

Their story is complicated further when the incident is captured on video and goes viral. Queen and Slim become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief, and pain for people across the country. BGN was invited to the set a week before Mardi Gras in New Orleans to chat with the cast and crew of the impending feature film.

On Meeting James Frey and the Idea Behind the Script

One evening at a party, Lena Waithe meets novelist James Frey. He is notably known or notoriously known for his book “A Million Little Pieces” that became an Oprah book club selection. However shortly after reports emerged that his autobiography was more fiction than fact, the author was under fire. Oprah wasn’t all too pleased, and eventually, the beef between the two was squashed.  James Frey clearly has a creative mind, and negative scrutiny hasn’t stopped him from writing.

According to Waithe: 

“James Frey pitched me the opening at a party and [he] was like, “I can’t write this movie. I need a person to write it who understands it.” So all he gave me was an opening and that opening I was like, ‘Got it. I know what the movie is. Let me go figure this out.’ He had a different title that wasn’t right. Titles are really important.  [I thought] what are some things that I can do to make every Black man, every Black woman, no matter what your walk of life is or where you are coming from, can look at them and see a piece of yourself in them?”

The two exchanged emails, and Waithe asked Frey if he had an outline and if he had a title.

[ click to continue reading at BLACKGIRLNERDS ]

Posted on July 8, 2019 by Editor

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Badasses Morgan and Rapinoe Bring The Cup Home Again!!

Posted on July 7, 2019 by Editor

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Roth, Frey, Easton-Ellis

from Facebook

Posted on July 6, 2019 by Editor

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Explosive Times

from Oregon Live

It’s not your imagination: Americans are shooting off more fireworks than ever

By The Conversation

AP Photo/Nick Ut

In the eyes of many Americans, the Fourth of July is a day for parades, barbecues and, of course, fireworks.

The tradition got its start at the beginning of our nation’s history after the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia to write and sign the Declaration of Independence. A day after the Continental Congress adopted the declaration on July 4, 1776, John Adams – soon the second U.S. president – penned a letter to his wife Abigail, declaring that Independence Day o”ught to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

One year later, Philadelphia celebrated the anniversary with fireworks – or “illuminations,” to Adams – plus a parade commemorating Independence Day.

So with that in mind, here are four fascinating sets of facts about fireworks.

[ click to continue reading at Oregon Live ]

Posted on July 4, 2019 by Editor

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Doublethink Anew

from The Atlantic

Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined

What 1984 means today

GEORGE PACKER

OLIVER MUNDAY

No novel of the past century has had more influence than George Orwell’s 1984. The title, the adjectival form of the author’s last name, the vocabulary of the all-powerful Party that rules the superstate Oceania with the ideology of Ingsoc—doublethinkmemory holeunpersonthoughtcrimeNewspeakThought PoliceRoom 101Big Brother—they’ve all entered the English language as instantly recognizable signs of a nightmare future. It’s almost impossible to talk about propaganda, surveillance, authoritarian politics, or perversions of truth without dropping a reference to 1984. Throughout the Cold War, the novel found avid underground readers behind the Iron Curtain who wondered, How did he know?

It was also assigned reading for several generations of American high-school students. I first encountered 1984 in 10th-grade English class. Orwell’s novel was paired with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, whose hedonistic and pharmaceutical dystopia seemed more relevant to a California teenager in the 1970s than did the bleak sadism of Oceania. I was too young and historically ignorant to understand where 1984 came from and exactly what it was warning against. Neither the book nor its author stuck with me. In my 20s, I discovered Orwell’s essays and nonfiction books and reread them so many times that my copies started to disintegrate, but I didn’t go back to 1984. Since high school, I’d lived through another decade of the 20th century, including the calendar year of the title, and I assumed I already “knew” the book. It was too familiar to revisit.

Read: Teaching ‘1984’ in 2016

So when I recently read the novel again, I wasn’t prepared for its power. You have to clear away what you think you know, all the terminology and iconography and cultural spin-offs, to grasp the original genius and lasting greatness of 1984. It is both a profound political essay and a shocking, heartbreaking work of art. And in the Trump erait’s a best seller.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on July 2, 2019 by Editor

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Taco Bell Hotel Books Out in Two Minutes

from USA Today

Taco Bell’s pop-up hotel reservations sell out in 2 minutes

Sherry Barkas, Palm Springs Desert Sun

A rendering of Taco Bell-themed king room decor and amenities planned for The Bell. Reservations for the first  ever Taco Bell pop-up hotel open June 27, 2019. The Bell will take over V Palm Springs, 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Aug. 8-12.
A rendering of Taco Bell-themed king room decor and amenities planned for The Bell. Reservations for the first ever Taco Bell pop-up hotel open June 27, 2019. The Bell will take over V Palm Springs, 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Aug. 8-12. (Photo: Courtesy of Taco Bell)

Apparently, people were excited about the prospect of sleeping in a taco-themed room. 

So excited that reservations for the Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, California, sold out in just 2 minutes after opening at 10 a.m. Pacific time Thursday, reports The Desert Sun, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. 

“Taco Bell fans are truly one of a kind, and today was one of the best expressions of that fandom yet,” Taco Bell Global Chief Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg said in an email. “The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort officially sold out in just 2 minutes. We would like to extend a big ‘thank you’ for those who have come along on this journey with us and even though The Bell is sold out, we’ll have more to share on exclusive merchandise, food and more in the coming weeks so those unable to score a room can still experience the fun from home.”

Guests will stay in rooms decorated wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with Taco Bell artwork, wake up to a special Taco Bell breakfast delivered to their door and float in the pool on a giant Taco Bell sauce packet raft.

It’s where “taco dreams really do come true,” Jennifer Arnoldt, Taco Bell’s senior director of retail engagement and experience, said in announcing that V Palm Springs would be the site for the “historic event, Aug. 8-12.”

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on June 30, 2019 by Editor

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New Jersey New King of Online Betting

from Bloomberg via Yahoo! Finance

Move Over, Nevada: New Jersey Is Now the Sports-Betting King

by Eben Novy-Williams

(Bloomberg) — New Jersey legalized sports betting a year ago, and last month the state’s operators passed a major milestone.

For the first time, sports bettors wagered more in New Jersey than in Nevada, which for decades was the lone, dominant state in the sports-betting landscape.

Gamblers wagered $318.9 million in May at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, and via mobile apps, according to the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. On Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said the state’s total for the month was $317.5 million.

The milestone continues a trend expected in the industry for a few months now. Not only does New Jersey have a lot more people than Nevada, but it benefits from customers coming from New York and Pennsylvania to wager remotely. The mobile options in New Jersey also feature better technology, which helps drive betting.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on June 29, 2019 by Editor

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The Vindicator Gone

from The Plain-Dealer

The Vindicator, Youngstown’s daily newspaper, will close after 150 years

BJordyn Grzelewski

American steelworker Charlie Grapentine reads about the Korean War in the Youngstown Vindicator in October 1950. The newspaper told employees Friday afternoon that it will close. (Doreen Spooner/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Vindicator, which recently marked its 150th publication anniversary and is Youngstown’s only daily newspaper, told employees Friday afternoon that it will close.

Bertram de Souza, The Vindicator’s editorial page editor and a columnist, recalled that when he joined the staff 40 years ago this month, the paper staffed multiple bureaus across the Valley and reached some 100,000 readers per day. “Unfortunately, the reality of our industry hit home – literally. It’s painful, for somebody like me, who has dedicated my life.”

[ click to continue reading at The Plain-Dealer ]

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Editor

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Symmetry

from Quanta Magazine

The Simple Idea Behind Einstein’s Greatest Discoveries

by K.C. Cole

Rachel Suggs for Quanta Magazine

The flashier fruits of Albert Einstein’s century-old insights are by now deeply embedded in the popular imagination: Black holes, time warps and wormholes show up regularly as plot points in movies, books, TV shows. At the same time, they fuel cutting-edge research, helping physicists pose questions about the nature of space, time, even information itself.

Perhaps ironically, though, what is arguably the most revolutionary part of Einstein’s legacy rarely gets attention. It has none of the splash of gravitational waves, the pull of black holes or even the charm of quarks. But lurking just behind the curtain of all these exotic phenomena is a deceptively simple idea that pulls the levers, shows how the pieces fit together, and lights the path ahead.

The idea is this: Some changes don’t change anything. The most fundamental aspects of nature stay the same even as they seemingly shape-shift in unexpected ways. Einstein’s 1905 papers on relativity led to the unmistakable conclusion, for example, that the relationship between energy and mass is invariant, even though energy and mass themselves can take vastly different forms. Solar energy arrives on Earth and becomes mass in the form of green leaves, creating food we can eat and use as fuel for thought. (“What is this mind of ours: what are these atoms with consciousness?” asked the late Richard Feynman. “Last week’s potatoes!”) That’s the meaning of E = mc2. The “c” stands for the speed of light, a very large number, so it doesn’t take much matter to produce an enormous amount of energy; in fact, the sun turns millions of tons of mass into energy each second.

This endless morphing of matter into energy (and vice versa) powers the cosmos, matter, life. Yet through it all, the energy-matter content of the universe never changes. It’s strange but true: Matter and energy themselves are less fundamental than the underlying relationships between them.

We tend to think of things, not relationships, as the heart of reality. But most often, the opposite is true. “It’s not the stuff,” said the Brown University physicist Stephon Alexander.

The same is true, Einstein showed, for “stuff” like space and time, seemingly stable, unchangeable aspects of nature; in truth, it’s the relationship between space and time that always stays the same, even as space contracts and time dilates. Like energy and matter, space and time are mutable manifestations of deeper, unshakable foundations: the things that never vary no matter what.

[ click to continue reading at Quanta ]

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Editor

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No Mo’ Mise En Sex

from The Washington Post via SF Gate

Sex is disappearing from the big screen, and it’s making movies less pleasurable

by Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

At the Cannes film festival last month, the scandal arrived with metronomic predictability: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood” might have been the week’s hottest ticket and Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho might have taken the cherished Palme d’Or. But it was Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo” that set tongues wagging, literally and figuratively.

The nearly four-hour film caused a ruckus, not just because of its derriere-numbing running time (most of it spent observing nubile teenage girls twerking to a pounding soundtrack of club music), but because of a 15-minute scene of cunnilingus, filmed so realistically that questions immediately arose as to whether it was unsimulated.

At the Cannes film festival last month, the scandal arrived with metronomic predictability: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood” might have been the week’s hottest ticket and Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho might have taken the cherished Palme d’Or. But it was Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo” that set tongues wagging, literally and figuratively.

The nearly four-hour film caused a ruckus, not just because of its derriere-numbing running time (most of it spent observing nubile teenage girls twerking to a pounding soundtrack of club music), but because of a 15-minute scene of cunnilingus, filmed so realistically that questions immediately arose as to whether it was unsimulated.

[ click to continue reading at SFGate ]

Posted on June 25, 2019 by Editor

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Black Bonnie and Clyde

from MTV

QUEEN & SLIM INTRODUCES THE ‘BLACK BONNIE & CLYDE’

THE HARROWING AFTERMATH OF A TRAFFIC STOP GONE WRONG

by BRITTANY VINCENT

Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith have joined forces for a harrowing new drama that looks like a terrifying story that could be a little too close to reality.

Queen & Slim, written by Lena Waithe (The Chi) and James Frey (A Million Little Pieces), follows a black couple (the titular “Queen” and “Slim”) who set out on their first date together when they’re forced to pull over for a minor traffic issue.

The Queen & Slim clip first appeared during the 2019 BET Awards on June 23, and it looks like a heavy story to take in, but well worth the potential discomfort it might cause some viewers due to the subject matter. Here’s to hoping the star couple finds something of a happy ending in the end, or at least as happy as it can be due to the happenings that kick the movie off.

Queen & Slim is set to debut in theaters on November 27, 2019.

[ click to continue reading at MTV ]

See also…
The Hollywood Reporter
Chicago Tribune
SlashFilm
Entertainment Weekly
Deadline
Vanity Fair

Posted on June 24, 2019 by Editor

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Malcolm X, MLK, Queen & Slim

from BET

Jodie Turner-Smith On Being The Malcolm X To Daniel Kaluuya’s MLK In ‘Queen & Slim’

The romantic drama from Lena Waithe explores a Black couple on a first date who find themselves on the run from the law.

Written by Jerry L. Barrow

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith on the set of 'Queen & Slim'

Jodie Turner-Smith runs her fingers through her reddish brown, low-cropped fro and smiles through the Louisiana heat. Shooting for her first feature film, Queen & Slim, has taken her from the freezing polar vortex of Ohio to the outskirts of New Orleans. A tiger-striped dress clings to her lithe frame revealing a bandage tied around her thigh. The late February sun has just hit its peak in the sky, but it looks like she’s already had a really long day. She’s pleasant and engaged, but the trauma of her character, Queen, is still visible in her eyes.

TV watchers may know Jodie as the genetically enhanced first officer, Melantha Jhirl, from Syfy’s space odyssey, Nightflyers. When word first got out about a “Black Bonnie & Clyde” film being produced by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas(the gifted eye behind Beyonce’s “Formation” and Nike’s “Equality” campaign) she made it a point to get an audition.

In the script written by Lena Waithe and based on an original idea by bestselling author James Frey, Queen is a defense attorney who goes on a date with Daniel Kaluuya’s(Get Out, Black Panther)working-class character, Slim, and things go from bad to worse as the couple find themselves on a very unforeseen road trip.

[ click to continue reading at BET ]

Posted on June 23, 2019 by Editor

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Queen & Slim BtS

from The Root

First Look: Behind the Scenes and on the Run With Queen & Slim

by Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Entertainment Writer Tonja Renée Stidhum on the set of Queen & Slim
Photo: The Root

Y’all. Meet Queen & Slim. And instantly fall in lust, love and lure.

Penned by Lena Waithe (from an original idea by A Million Little Pieces author James Frey, who approached her about it at an industry party) and helmed by Melina Matsoukas, at first glance, Queen & Slim looks to bolt its way into the likes of classics such as Bonnie & Clyde and Thelma & Louise. Except we won’t have to compare it to those films anymore, we’ll have our own—and it’ll be black as fuck.

Two days after the 2019 Academy Awards, I hopped on a plane to New Orleans to visit the set of Queen & Slim with a bunch of other black-ass journalists on a mission to get the scoop from Waithe, Matsoukas, Kaluuya, Turner-Smith, and costume designer Shiona Turini. From that slick-ass Pontiac 400 (which Kaluuya drove around; there wasn’t a process trailer!) to the gritty cloth of their wardrobe, we immediately felt a part of the world Matsoukas and her crew had created. I was so geeked, I almost forgot about that oppressive ass humidity.

[ click to read full article at The Root ]

Posted on June 22, 2019 by Editor

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Queen & Slim & Police Violence

from COMPLEX

Lena Waithe’s ‘Queen & Slim’ Takes Aim at Police Violence

BY KHAL

Jodie Turner-Smith, Melina Matsoukas, Donna Langley, Lena Waithe, and Daniel Kaluuya
Image via Getty/Alberto E. Rodriguez

When you’re Living While Black in America, life can come at you fast. There are countless stories of black folk minding their own business and being harassed, assaulted, or gunned down by the police. Rarely do you hear of those roles being reversed—or, at the very least, a situation where an interaction between a black person and a police officer ends with the officer being gunned down. That’s the premise of Queen & Slim, the Daniel Kaluuya-starring project that’s been whispered about for the last six months (and received major buzz during CinemaCon back in April). This film marks the first feature-length project for multi-hyphenate Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas (who serve as writer and director, respectively).

The week before Mardi Gras, Universal Pictures sent a select group of African American journalists and outlets to New Orleans to visit the set of what’s been described as a “black Bonnie & Clyde.” The film (which hits theaters on November 27, 2019) is essentially a road movie, taking viewers on a cross-country trek with a black couple featuring the eponymous Queen & Slim—portrayed by fresh-faced Jodie Turner-Smith and Kaluuya respectively—who are on the run from police after their terrible first date turns into a traffic stop that  ends with a cop being killed—but Waithe has described it in the past as “protest art.”

“I can’t always make it to the marches or the rallies,” Waithe explained during a break in shooting, primarily due to how often she’s working on shows like The Chi or other projects she’s involved in. “When I sit down at my computer, that’s me. That’s my rallying cry. That’s me trying to figure out who we are.” Waithe also understands why some might compare the film to Bonnie & Clyde or Thelma & Louise, but she had a different classic in mind. “It’s such a huge compliment. Bonnie & Clyde changed the conversation. Thelma & Louise is iconic. But the thing that they aren’t realizing is another reference for me would be Set It Off. In terms of black people being at a very difficult place with their back being against the wall and nothing that they [can] do [but] to keep going.”

[ click to continue reading at COMPLEX ]

Posted on June 21, 2019 by Editor

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Ten Greatest Films – Not Bad

from FAR OUT

The 10 greatest films of all time according to 358 acclaimed filmmakers

by Far Out Staff

Martin Scorsese’s hand-drawn storyboards for 'Taxi Driver'

For decades now Orson Welles iconic film Citizen Kane has remained top of the pile, the general consensus being that the mystery drama examining the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane is arguably the greatest film ever made. However, in the most recent edition of the director’s poll Welles’ effort had dipped down to third spot with the surprise revelation that Yasujiro Ozu film Tokyo Story has emerged victorious on this occasion. 

Ozu’s 1953 film, telling the story of an ageing couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children, is said to be loosely based on the 1937 American film, Make Way for Tomorrow, directed by Leo McCarey. 

The film takes place in 1953 post-war Japan, a few years after the new Civil Code at a time when Japan’s bustling re-growth and embraced Western ideals with some older Japanese traditions began to fall by the wayside. Ozu himself called Tokyo Story “the film that tends most strongly to melodrama.”

Here’s the full list which has been decided by 358 directors: 

1. Tokyo Story – Yasujiro Ozu, 1953.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick, 1968.
– 2. Citizen Kane – Orson Welles, 1941.
4. 8 ½ – Federico Fellini, 1963.
5. Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese, 1976.
6. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola, 1979.
7. The Godfather – Francis Ford, Coppola, 1972.
– 7. Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock, 1958.
9. Mirror – Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974.
10. Bicycle Thieves – Vittorio De Sica, 1949.

[ click to continue reading at FAR OUT ]

Posted on June 20, 2019 by Editor

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Gloria Vanderbilt Gone

from AP

Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress, jeans queen, dies at 95

By ULA ILNYTZKY

NEW YORK (AP) — Gloria Vanderbilt, the intrepid heiress, artist and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the “poor little rich girl” of the Great Depression, survived family tragedy and multiple marriages and reigned during the 1970s and ’80s as a designer jeans pioneer, died Monday at the age of 95.

Vanderbilt was the great-great-granddaughter of financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and the mother of CNN newsman Anderson Cooper, who announced her death via a first-person obituary that aired on the network Monday morning.

“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a statement. “She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they’d tell you, she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest, and most modern.”

Her life was chronicled in sensational headlines from her childhood through four marriages and three divorces. She married for the first time at 17, causing her aunt to disinherit her. Her husbands included Leopold Stokowski, the celebrated conductor, and Sidney Lumet, the award-winning movie and television director. In 1988, she witnessed the suicide of one of her four sons.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on June 17, 2019 by Editor

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BRIGHT SHINY MORNING (New French Edition)

from Facebook

[ click to join me on Facebook ]

Posted on June 10, 2019 by Editor

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Rural Radio Gone (Almost)

from The Guardian

America’s rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country’s soul with them

At a time when local newspapers are disappearing, the loss of a radio station leaves a community with another cultural and informational gap

by Debbie Weingarten in Willcox, Arizona

 In the kill zone of the radio tower with the dungeon in the background in Willcox. Photograph: Cassidy Araiza/The Guardian

When I arrive at the radio station, Mark Lucke is standing in the doorway, looking out at the spitting, winter rain. He’s slim and stoic, with sad, almost haunted, eyes. The first thing he asks is if I’d like to see “the dungeon”. Who wouldn’t?

Lucke pulls on a Steeler’s jacket and a baseball cap over brown hair that falls halfway down his back, and leads me across the five-acre yard. Out here, 90 miles east of Tucson, the desert is a long sweep of brush the color of beach sand. Lucke seems to slip through the rainy day like a ghost.

The radio station, whose call letters are KHIL, has long been the daily soundtrack for this frontier town (population 3,500) that prides itself on its cowboy culture and quiet pace of life. But six decades after the founding of the station, the property is in foreclosure, with utility disconnect notices coming nearly every month.

Small-town radio is fizzling nationwide, as stations struggle to attract advertisement dollars. And as station owners are forced to sell, media conglomerates snap up rural frequencies for rock-bottom prices, for the sole purpose of relocating them to urban areas. In a more affluent market, they can be flipped for a higher price. With limited frequencies available, larger broadcasters purchase as many as possible – especially those higher on the dial – in a race not dissimilar to a real estate grab.

The “dungeon” turns out to be benign – just the original radio station building. Lucke explains that country music star Tanya Tucker “used to hang out here with the jocks”. This was before she recorded Delta Dawn at the age of 13 and left Willcox to produce a slew of hits, which landed her in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her familiar drawl can still be heard at the top of every hour on KHIL, saying, “Hello, Willcox. This is Tanya Tucker, and you’re listening to the station I always listened to when I was a kid.”

Except for a washing machine and stacking radio conductors, the dungeon is empty. From here, in a feat of electrical wiring, several radio stations (four of which are run by Lucke) are connected to the 5,000-watt radio tower behind the dungeon, and pushed out into the sky.

KHIL was founded in 1958 by Rex Allen, who gained notoriety as the last of the singing cowboys. On the silver screen, The Arizona Cowboy could be seen strumming a guitar from the back of his horse, until the genre came to a close in 1954. He would go on to narrate a plethora of Disney movies, including Charlotte’s Web, and for years was the voice behind Ford truck and Purina Dog Chow commercials.

Allen – who died in 1999 – is now immortalized by a statue in the historic downtown. Born 31 December 1920 to Horace and Faye Allen in Willcox, Rex Elvie Allen was cross-eyed at birth, reads the plaque below the statue.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on June 8, 2019 by Editor

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Madonna

from The New York Times

Madonna at Sixty

The original queen of pop on aging, inspiration and why she refuses to cede control.

By Vanessa Grigoriadis

Madonna and her six children. Creditvia Instagram

The night before the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in May, Madonna was sitting in the arena attached to the MGM Grand hotel, staring at a double of herself. The double, who was standing on the stage many yards away, was younger and looked Asian but wore a similar lace minidress and a wig in Madonna’s current hairstyle, a ’30s movie star’s crimped blond waves. “It’s always the second person with the wig — she wants to see it,” a stage designer said, adding that when she makes a decision, she is definitive. “Madonna wants 10 options, but when she says it’s the one, it’s the one.”

Madonna was observing Madonna to make sure Madonna was doing everything perfectly. Up on the stage set of a funky urban street with lampposts and a tiled bar, the double hit her marks and held a fist up to her mouth like a faux microphone for a rendition of “Medellín,” the on-trend, Latin-inflected song that Madonna would be singing. Madonna looked at a TV and assessed the augmented-reality part of the show, in which four additional virtual Madonnas, one playing an accordion and another dressed like a bride, would materialize in the televised awards performance out of thin air. Nearby, guys bowed heads and said cryptic things like “Where’s the digital key?” and “I need the alpha channel” to one another, tensely.

All the fake Madonnas ran through the song a few times before Madonna skipped enthusiastically to the stage. The sex bomb at 60 was slightly less than bionic and wore a Swarovski-crystal-encrusted patch over her left eye (“It’s fashion, darling,” an onlooker explained when I asked why she chose to wear it). Afterward, Madonna mused about something being off, and the next time she messed up the part where she stood on a table and gyrated her legs in and out in a move called “the butterfly” while popping her head in each direction. But by the third run-through she seemed ecstatic. “It’s so nice to see her smile,” Megan Lawson, a choreographer, said from under a black bolero hat, “and have it be a genuine smile.”

The AR part of Madonna’s performance was a feat, devised by some of the people who worked on this year’s Super Bowl, and the next night at the awards show she danced boldly despite the eye patch, which had to be difficult, peripheral-vision-speaking. But she wasn’t incorporating fireworks, a marching band and flying backup dancers, as Taylor Swift did; she didn’t hand out special bracelets to every person in the audience, then activate them to beam a thousand points of light, as the Jonas Brothers did; she wasn’t in a leotard and rolling around on the floor simulating a lesbian make-out session, as Halsey did, though the reason Halsey did that has a lot to do with Madonna doing it first. When the people in the audience lost their minds that night, they lost them almost exclusively for the K-pop band BTS, whose smooth hip-hop moves have birthed a million memes. For Madonna, they rose to their feet and took their phones out to commemorate “the time they saw Madonna” but seemed to scream loudest for the gyrating butterfly part, which was a little skanky, and that pleased them.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on June 6, 2019 by Editor

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It’s Coming

from Axios

1 big thing: Media companies wade into betting

By Sara Fischer

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The legalization of sports betting has opened up new business opportunities, and ethical challenges, for some of America’s biggest media companies.

Why it matters: Striking the right balance between leaning into betting — and not alienating casual fans or compromising journalistic principles — will force the establishment of new media boundaries.

Driving the news: Fox announced the most aggressive push into domestic sports betting this month with the introduction of “Fox Bet,” an online betting app.

  • Fox Corp. is buying 5% of Canadian gaming and online gambling company Stars Group Inc. for $236 million. In doing so, it will be starting its own sports wagering platform, a major step for a U.S. sports broadcaster.
  • And in December, mobile sports app theScore announced that it planned to launch its own mobile sports book, beginning in New Jersey.

Between the lines: Other TV networks with sports broadcast rights are taking a more cautious approach.

[ continue reading at Axios ]

Posted on June 4, 2019 by Editor

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$15k for Play

from The Hollywood Reporter

How Top Gamers Earn Up to $15,000 an Hour

by Patrick Shanley

SOURCE: Twitch

A new lawsuit reveals the high stakes in gaming as brands like Coca-Cola and Bud Light push the hourly income of popular streamers as high as five figures: “It’s become something nobody predicted.”

A decade ago, Benjamin Lupo’s hobby of playing video games was just that. Today, a gamer like Lupo could earn as much as $15,000 an hour broadcasting his gaming to the nearly 3  million people who follow him on live-streaming platform Twitch. 

Lupo, who goes by the online avatar DrLupo, says it took him “two full years of streaming 40-plus hours a week” while working a regular job before he felt comfortable gaming “full time.” Now considered one of the world’s most popular gamers, he’s part of a burgeoning cottage industry of streamers who are profiting from the booming business of video games. 

Over the past five years, the gaming industry has more than doubled, rocketing to $43.8  billion in revenue in 2018, according to the NPD Group. Skilled gamers — buoyed by the rise of streaming platforms like Google’s YouTube and Amazon’s Twitch — have turned into stars who can not only attract millions of fans but also earn millions of dollars. Top Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, for example, has said he made $10  million in 2018 playing online game Fortnite.

“There’s been incredible [revenue] growth across the board,” says Mike Aragon, who oversees Twitch’s partnerships with streamers as senior vp content. “The entire ecosystem has become more mainstream.”

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on June 3, 2019 by Editor

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Decadent U.

from Esquire

The Secret Oral History of Bennington: The 1980s’ Most Decadent College

Fall, 1982. A new freshman class arrives at arty, louche, and expensive Bennington College. Among the druggies, rebels, heirs, and posers: future Gen X literary stars Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, and Jonathan Lethem. What happened over the next four years would spark scandal, myth, and some of the authors’ greatest novels. Return to a campus and an era like no other.

BY LILI ANOLIK

image
Kate Aichele/Bennington College; Mark Norris (Tartt and Lethem);
Ian Gittler (Ellis).

What Café du Dôme was to the Lost Generation, the dining hall at Bennington College was to Generation X—i.e., the Lost Generation Revisited. The Moveable Feast had moved ahead six decades and across the Atlantic, and while, of course, southwestern Vermont wasn’t Paris, somehow, in the early-to-mid eighties, it was, was just as sly, louche, low-down, and darkly perdu. And speaking of sly, louche, low-down, and darkly perdu, check out the habitués. Seated around the table, ready to gorge on the conversation if not the food (cocaine, the Pernod of its era, is a notorious appetite suppressant), berets swapped for sunglasses, were the neo F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Djuna Barnes: Bret Easton Ellis, future writer of American Psycho and charter member of the literary Brat Pack; Jonathan Lethem, future writer of The Fortress of Solitude and MacArthur genius; and Donna Tartt, future writer of The Secret History and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch. All three were in the class of 1986. All three were a long way from home—Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Grenada, Mississippi, respectively. All three were, at various times, infatuated and disappointed with one another, their friendships stimulated and fueled by rivalry. And all three would mythologize Bennington—the baroque wickedness, the malignant glamour, the corruption so profound as to be exactly what is meant by the word decadence—in their fiction that, as it turns out, wasn’t quite, and thereby become myths themselves.

Every prodigy needs his or her very own Gertrude Stein or Sherwood Anderson—i.e., a mentor and model. Bennington had those in profusion, teachers who were also artists: journalist Joe McGinniss; novelists and short-story writers Nicholas Delbanco and Arturo Vivante; and poet, mystic, and self-chronicler Claude Fredericks. And then there were the supporting figures (and fellow students), so fascinating they threatened to eclipse the main: writers Jill Eisenstadt, David Lipsky, Lawrence David, Reginald Shepherd; Brixton Smith Start, lead guitarist of post-punk British band the Fall; and Quintana Roo Dunne, only child of Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne.

So grab a tray, pull up a chair, and try not to look like you’re eavesdropping.

[ click to continue reading at Esquire ]

Posted on May 31, 2019 by Editor

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Nostrawarhol

from AP

California show explores Warhol’s social, tech foreshadowing

By KATIE OYAN

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Before Instagram and Facebook, before selfies and filters that perfect selfies, there was Andy Warhol, using his art to imbue friends, family, celebrities — even himself — with a certain mystique.

A retrospective of Warhol’s work on display in San Francisco captures the artist’s ability to use paintings, drawings, photographs and other mediums to create buzz-worthy personas the way people do now using social media.

The idea of personal branding, “of how we can be who we want to be,” was something Warhol was trading on more than a half-century ago, said Donna De Salvo, deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, where the exhibit originated . “He had a real understanding of something about American culture, which is now more global.”

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on May 30, 2019 by Editor

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Alie Rivier Gutman to VP at Andrew Stearn Productions

from Deadline

Andrew Stearn Launches Production Company With Overall Deal At ABC Studios

By Nellie Andreeva

Alie Rivier Gutman

Former Working Title Television U.S. and John Wells Productions president Andrew Stearn is launching his own production company, Andrew Stearn Productions. It will be based at ABC Studios, a division of Disney Television Studios, with an overall deal.

At ABC Studios, Stearn will be joined by Alie Rivier Gutman, whom he has hired as VP for Andrew Stearn Prods. She most recently served as Director of Development and Production for James Frey’s Full Fathom Five, where she worked in TV and film on projects including the series Relationship Status (Verizon Go90),American Gothic (CBS), The Kicks(Amazon) and the feature film Eat, Brains, Love. 

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on May 29, 2019 by Editor

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Scully, I’m on my way.

from Sputnik News

Paging Agent Mulder: UFO Hunter Spies New Underground Base Near Area 51 

The conspiracy buff also directed his attention toward the two fields located near the suspected underground facility, speculating that these crops might be part of some genetic research programme.

While the US Air Force facility known as Area 51 has already become the staple of conspiracy theories regarding extraterrestrial spacecraft and alien lifeforms, famous UFO hunter Scott C. Waring now claims that a new underground installation is being constructed in the vicinity.

According to Waring, who had apparently stumbled upon this discovery while studying satellite maps, the new facility is located 55 miles to the north-east of Area 51’s perimeter.

[ click to continue reading at Sputnik News ]

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Editor

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Nasty Curves

from FiveThirtyEight

MLB Curves And Sliders Have Gotten Alarmingly Nasty

By Travis Sawchik

Cleveland Indians v. Houston Astros
Trevor Bauer has turned to pitch design to create more movement on his breaking pitches. LOREN ELLIOTT / MLB PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Major League Baseball seems to be on an unstoppable pathway to more and more strikeouts. After a record share of plate appearances ended in a strikeout last season (22.3 percent), this season is winding up to set another record: If the to-date strikeout rate of 23 percent holds or increases over the season, it would mark the 12th straight year of a record set for strikeout rate.

Fastball velocity is often cited as the source of the strikeout surge, along with hitters willing to trade contact for power. The constantly increasing fastball velocities of recent years are such a concern that MLB is partnering with the independent Atlantic League next year to move the mound back by 2 feet — to 62 feet, 6 inches from home plate. Still, there may be another culprit behind all of the K’s: Breaking balls have never moved more. According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of PITCHf/x and Statcast data at Baseball Prospectus, sliders and curveballs this season are darting away from bats at their greatest levels in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008).

[ click to continue reading at FiveThirtyEight.com ]

Posted on May 26, 2019 by Editor

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The Jersey Man

from Inside Hook

How the Dean of Sports Uniforms Stitched Together His Online Dynasty

Paul Lukas looks back on 20 years of Uni Watch, the preeminent website for all things jerseys and uniforms

BY EVAN BLEIER

Uni Watch is obsessed with the laundry of sports.

Uni Watch is obsessed with the laundry of sports.

Paul Lukas lives for the laundry of sports.

Lukas is the man behind Uni Watch, a website where fans of sports uniforms congregate to dissect the minutiae of logos and stitches instead of play calls and pitches in an obsessive and informed manner. The 55-year-old, whose first sports fashion/design column appeared in the sports section of the now-defunct Village Voice20 years ago this month (May 26), concurs with Seinfeld’s assessment.

“It’s true because the players come and go,” Lukas tells InsideHook. “They get traded, they retire, they leave via free agency or whatever and we keep rooting for whoever is wearing that uniform, whoever that person is. Your team could be really good one year and really bad another year, but you stay loyal to that team and to that uniform. That’s a really uncommon thing and a really powerful form of brand loyalty, frankly.”

While he may not have realized it when he was worrying about the stirrups of his Little League uniform or doodling team logos in the margins of his notebook instead of paying attention in class as a kid, Lukas already sensed the connection between livery and loyalty.

“I’ve always been interested in uniforms. I guess because it’s really what we end up rooting for,”  Lukas says. “I don’t think I could have articulated it that way when I was a kid or when I was geeking out over my first Little League uniform or anything like that, but I think the seeds of it were there.”

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook.com ]

Posted on May 24, 2019 by Editor

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JG @ DU

Posted on May 23, 2019 by Editor

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Melina’s Closet

from COVETEUR

WE ONCE RAIDED MELINA MATSOUKAS’ CLOSET 

And it was just as cool as we imagined. Los Angeles. In Partnership with BET.

by Laurel Pantin

Think of pretty much any music video you’ve loved in the past few years, and odds are director Melina Matsoukas is behind it. We’re talking Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Rihanna’s “We Found Love” (for which she was the first female director ever to win a Grammy), Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction” (yaaas), and Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance.” Matsoukas is the realest of deals, and also the coolest person you could ever hope to spend an afternoon with.

But if you thought directing ground-breaking music videos would be enough for most people, you’d find that “most people” doesn’t apply to Matsoukas. She just wrapped the forthcoming film Queen & Slim, written by Lena Waithe and James Frey, and has garnered much well-deserved praise for her work on Insecure. 

[ click to continue reading at COVETEUR ]

Posted on May 21, 2019 by Editor

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8,000-year-old Lox

from Nautilus

The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years

BY SEVINDJ NURKIYAZOVA

The word lox was one of the clues that eventually led linguists to discover who the Proto-Indo-Europeans were, and where they lived. Photograph by Helen Cook / Flickr

One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University. There is hardly a more quintessential New York food than a lox bagel—a century-old popular appetizing store, Russ & Daughters, calls it “The Classic.” But Guy, who has lived in the city for the past 17 years, is passionate about lox for a different reason. “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’ It’s really cool that that word hasn’t changed its pronunciation at all in 8,000 years and still refers to a particular fish.”

How scholars have traced the word’s pronunciation over thousands of years is also really cool. The story goes back to Thomas Young, also known as “The Last Person Who Knew Everything.” The 18th-century British polymath came up with the wave theory of light, first described astigmatism, and played a key role in deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Like some people before him, Young noticed eerie similarities between Indic and European languages. He went further, analyzing 400 languages spread across continents and millennia and proved that the overlap between some of them was too extensive to be an accident. A single coincidence meant nothing, but each additional one increased the chance of an underlying connection. In 1813, Young declared that all those languages belong to one family. He named it “Indo-European.”

Today, roughly half the world’s population speaks an Indo-European language. That family includes 440 languages spoken across the globe, including English. The word yoga, for example, which comes from Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, is a distant relative of the English word yoke. The nature of this relationship puzzled historical linguists for two centuries.

In modern English, well over half of all words are borrowed from other languages. To trace how language changes over time, linguists developed an ingenious toolkit. “Some parts of vocabulary are more stable and don’t change as much. The linguistic term [for these words] is ‘a core vocabulary.’ These are numbers, colors, family relations like ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘sister,’ ‘brother,’ and basic verbs like ‘walk’ and ‘see,’ says Guy. “If you look at words of that sort in different languages, it becomes fairly clear which ones are related and which ones are not. For example, take the English word for number two, which is dva in Russian and deux in French, or the word night, which is nacht in German and noch in Russian.”

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Editor

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Cast Inflatable Haters

from The New York Times

Stop Hating Jeff Koons 

Why “Rabbit,” the perfect art for the roaring mid-80s, continues to speak to us.

By Roberta Smith

Jeff Koons poses with “Rabbit” at the Tate Modern in 2009.CreditCreditDaniel Deme/EPA, via Shutterstock

Jeff Koons is back on top, if on top means holding the highest auction price for a living artist, as hyped by the auction house responsible. Mr. Koons’s 1986 “Rabbit,” a precise stainless steel copy of a plastic inflatable toy — mirror-smooth yet with seams and puckers — sold Wednesday night at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sale for $91.1 million, the highlight of New York’s buoyant spring auctions.

It broke the record set last fall when Christie’s auctioned David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures)” — a 1972painting the size of a small mural — for $90.3 million. But let’s get real. The hammer price for both works was actually $80 million. The “Rabbit” inched ahead by a whisker — about $762,500 — because of a twist of fate: Christie’s increased the fees buyers pay on Feb. 1. The difference was simply a matter of auction house profit-seeking. It recalls the soaring home-run statistics from baseball’s “steroid era” before testing for performance enhancing drugs became routine. The price should have an asterisk or footnote — something that says, hey, the final bids on these two art works were exactly the same. It was a tie.

Mr. Koons, who is 64, set his first living-artist auction record in 2013, when his “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for $58.4 million, also at Christie’s. Then came a precipitous drop: The artist’s big painted aluminum “Play-Doh” went for $22.8 million in 2014. Unlike “Play-Doh,” the “Rabbit,” made in 1986, has been with us over three decades, alternately loved and hated. Some of its most fervent admirers see it as the perfect work of art for its moment, the roaring mid-1980s. I don’t disagree. I also think it continues to speak to us.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on May 18, 2019 by Editor

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