Steve Brodner
February 2010
On Tuesday March 23 at 7 in the SVA Amphitheater we'll have a unique panel of high-achieving SVA grads who have gone on to do innovative things in our field. As a teacher I'm always looking for the new directions for narrative art to move in.  Of course the young artists will show us the way.  So here are three. In addition, we've compiled a star-studded list of boldface names from the biz whose breakout work we'll be showing:
Lou Beach, Alan Witschonke, Bob Staake, Chris Buzelli, Chris Spollen, Felix Sockwell, Frances Jetter, JD King, Joseph Daniel Fiedler, Leo Espinosa, Marc Burckhardt, Marcos Chin, Mark Fisher, Mark Ulriksen, Michael Moran, Michael Sloan,  Nancy Stahl, Nate Williams, Patrick Dorian, Peter Kuper, Richard Borge, Richard Downs, Lou Brooks, Fernanda Cohen, Walter Vasconcelos, Inga Poslitur, Joe Ciardiello, Marcellus Hall, Jorge Colombo, Jeff Moores, John Hendrix, Paul Hoppe among others.

Many of these great artists will be on hand to discuss their work. Plus an intro by (possibly) the World's Greatest Artist. Looks to me like we're in serious danger of being off to a great start on the road to NEXT. Please come, admission is free.
The World of Tomorrow Redux
This brilliant Oscar Nominated piece, Logorama, Directed by Francois Alaur, Herve de Crecy, & Ludovic Houplain could possibly set the stage for tomorrow's Health Care Summit.  As could the following, The Astounding World of the Future, Written and Directed by Scott Dikkers. One a portrait of the fully invested citizens, the other of the rest of us. Onward.
Thanks for both to the great PS Mueller, oracle.

The Vanguard at 75

Here's to the Village Vanguard: the temple of Jazz. Not a museum but a living, breathing space for amazing miracles of music. And most of the greats have played there.  Here's my take on the club, going down recently to catch the JD Allen Trio. That's Gregg August on bass and the otherworldly Tyshawn Sorey on drums. I took photos and did sketches though it was too dark for either. For once I relied mostly on the sketchbook.  In the final, the right wall has Coltrane, Monk and Miles, and not the famous tuba that Max Gordon and his daughter Deborah bought at an auction long ago. A David Remnick edit.  My thanks to him for loving jazz and going with this project for this week's New Yorker and Lorraine Gordon, still takin' no prisoners at 87. Coltrane's "Impressions" included here; from a famous album recorded, guess where. Another 175, VV.







It's the Orwell-a-thon!





Moments in the never ending carnival of crazy with names funny enough to make anyone, especially George Orwell, shake, rattle and roll.



1. The Simon Weisenthal TOLERANCE MUSEUM is being built on a 400 year-old Palestinian gravesite.

From the Times of London:

“What the UN can do is limited but they can investigate and raise awareness,” said Diana Buttu, a lawyer involved with the petition. “We have exhausted all our other legal means.”


Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Weisenthal Centre, has defended the decision to build the museum, stating that the complex will promote coexistence. “All citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews, are the real beneficiaries of the site,” he said.


2. The Chinese Tiger Farm

As tigers vanish in the wild, they have a home getting a more civilized slaughter. In Giulin, China there is a farm that raises them for their parts, which sell well on the world market.

From the NYT:

"If there is any mystery about what happens to the big cats at Xiongsen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village in Guilin, it is partly explained in the gift shop, where fuzz-coated bottles in the shape of a tiger are filled with “bone strengthening” wine. The liquor, which costs $132 for a six-year-old brew, is sold openly across the surrounding Guangxi region and beyond."

Best: a large sign in the building’s interior declares “Protecting Wild Animals is the Bounden Duty of Every Citizen.”

3. Dumpster Grannys

After months of group fantasy about Death Panels for Granny, the GOP has revealed what it would do with the Medicare and SS if they had the chance: end them.  Granny, then, narrowly escapes death.  At least a fast one.



4. Torture anyone?

Last week's Meet the Press had Dick Cheney finally admit that he was pro-waterboarding. Was I the only one who heard this? And of course, "we don't believe  in torture".  And neither did Yoo and Bybee.  Everybody spin!

My Little Congress
Given the new Supreme Court ruling on corporate freedom to now go as wild as they like  in political campaign spending a new report shows that this past year it was getting much worse . . .  all by itself. Can it be any clearer the reasons the government has stopped working, it seems, altogether:
"The Center for Responsive Politics puts the total at nearly $3.5 billion, a five percent increase over 2008. The pharmaceutical and health products industry spent nearly $267 million on lobbying, the greatest amount ever spent on lobbying efforts by a single industry. The Chamber of Commerce spent over $144 million dollars on lobbying, a 60 percent increase over 2008. Other big spenders on lobbying included Exxon Mobil, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or Pharma, General Electric, Pfizer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, AARP, American Medical Association, Chevron, the National Association of Realtors, and the American Beverage Association. Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics said, “Lobbying appears recession proof. Even when companies are scaling back other operations, many view lobbying as a critical tool in protecting their future interests.”
Art for The Nation
Snowball Warming
Walking through beautiful Inwood Park the other day, in the middle of our picturesque snowstorm, I suddenly heard a familiar voice.  It was a snowman in the image of (major Global Warming denier) Senator James Inhofe .  "It's all bunk, Sonny.", he said.  "It's cold, right? There's all this snow, right?  What are ya, blind?."  Just then Shoshana the Rescue Dog appeared on the scene.  "Well, it sure feels warmer.", he mumbled.  " Don't know what to think now."
R is for Rush
Sarah Palin’s celebrity-burn-rate continues at volcanic temps.  We happy blog workers here are always glad to help.

Forget the Super Bowl, dig Sarah’s flying wedge . . . against herself.

So after pissing off Tea Partiers with a very un-populist $100,000 fee to chirp at their convention in Nashville, she is caught referring to scribbles she made on her hand (remember her “Obama, the guy with the teleprompter”?).  Next she carried her Rahm Emanuel is toast for using the word, retard” campaign to Fox News.  When asked if it was okay that Rush Limbaugh used it, she said, uh huh.

I have to wonder, where is the rest of her policy? I ‘m sure the R word is written around there somewhere.  It’s her registered trademark.

From the Huffington Post:
“On Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, she said his comments calling liberal groups “f-ing retards” was “indecent and insensitive” and cause for his dismissal.
But the former governor went to great and sometimes awkward lengths to insist that when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the same exact term to describe the same exact group, it was simply in the role of political humorist.
“They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh,” she said, when read a quote of Limbaugh calling liberal groups “retards.” “Rush Limbaugh was using satire … . I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with ‘f-ing retards,’ and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that. There is a big difference there.”

Here's a version by the brilliant Larry Roibal.
Half-Time Preview
On Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Half-Time Show will take its cue from the pioneering commercial scheduled by Focus on the Family in which Tim Tebow, college football star, makes his anti-abortion case by stating that he wasn’t aborted and he’s darned glad about it.  Immediately following this  announcement the teams will take the field at half-time.  The Colts, playing assassinated abortion doctor, George Tiller, will attempt to carry a pregnant woman downfield.  The Saints, naturally, will try to save the life of her unborn fetus with firearms.
In the grand finale, with the field bathed in red, the cleansed spirit of Dr. Tiller rises in the shape of an enormous Madonna Macy’s balloon, cradling a brand new, plump and very happy looking football. 
Go Saints.
Howard Zinn, who passed away last week was a hero to many of us and a pain in the neck to the right people.  Basically, he devoted his life to seeing past mythology and getting history down to the brave reality.  Romantic history can kill, he says.  But the truth, while painful at first, is a powerful antiseptic, ultimately.   His People’s History of the United States is a classic that is a very useful reminder that history has many dark underpinnings and that movements of ordinary people have, from time to time, found the power to shine a light and prevail.   Here’s a video version of What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me about the American Empire by Howard Zinn Narrated by Viggo Mortensen Art by Mike Konopacki:
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