I thoroughly enjoyed “My Life as a Warrior” by Jennifer Sky in the September 10 issue of The New York Times.
Ms. Sky was recruited into modeling as a teenager, and found it soul-shattering. She turned to acting, got a part on Xena: Warrior Princess, and blossomed.
… Still recovering from an adolescence of exploitation at the hands of the fashion industry, it was shout-it-to-the-heavens inspiring. … I crushed so hard on Xena that I wrote Lucy Lawless, the actress who played her, a fan letter — and I worked on the show. [emphasis added]
Heartwarming, and highly recommended (and I’m not a fanboy: I probably saw Xena for a grand total of 30 seconds).
One cool bit of this is an app they call Mastermatcher. You answer 5 multiple choice questions, and it generates a selection of images (of works from different mediums) from the collection. They’re not all amazing, but it is a great conversation starter. This was in my matches:
This is a screen capture. I’m showing this because it shows the ability, through the buttons, to save or clip this work (the 249 in red indicates that this many other people have already saved this to their personal Rijksstudio). In fact, they encourage you to do whatever you like with the art you find. The fun thing is, you can go back and restart the Mastermatcher, answer the questions differently, and it will generate a whole new set of images for you.
Of course, you can go and look for anything you like. I’m a sucker for still-lifes, so I searched and found this one. Downloaded it too, for your pleasure:
Stilleven met klein dood wild en vruchten, Frans Snijders, 1600–1657
* I went to the Rijksmuseum in the summer of 1984. I’m not sure what everyone found so stodgy about the place — it was probably my favorite museum on the continent. Just to stand in front of “The Night Watch” was amazing; standing close enough to let it fill your whole field of vision (it’s huge, so this was still a few feet back).
The top tier artists in Germany simply don’t make realist work anymore. North Koreans on the other hand haven’t experienced the long evolution of modern art; they are kind of stuck in the early 1900s
Like the 164 foot tall stone thingie that’s sorta’ like the one in the end of Star Trek V:
Or the 66 foot tall King Sung:
Senegal’s African Renaissance Monument, unveiled just outside Dakar in 2010, is among Mansudae’s most notable works. At 164 feet … The monument is intended to represent “Africa emerging from darkness, from five centuries of slavery and two centuries of colonialism,” Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal’s former president [said]“Only the North Koreans could build my statue,” he said, adding, “I had no money.”
It gets worse:
“They seem to have developed a small cottage industry,” says Marcus Noland, an expert on North Korea and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “The North Koreans are desperate for money, and my guess is that at some point they figured out that essentially exporting their capacity to make glorious monuments to great leaders was something they could do to both win friends and possibly influence people, but also possibly make money.”
Founded in 1959, six years after the Korean War, Mansudae has long defined—or at least produced—North Korea’s aesthetic. The impoverished country, in which 28 percent of children under 5 suffer from malnutrition, according to the United Nations, spends much of its budget on Kim family deification. According to a recent statement by North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly, “44.8 percent of the total state budgetary expenditure for the economic development and improvement of people’s living standard was used for funding the building of edifices to be presented to the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung.”
What assholes! And that monument in Senegal?
… Foreign government officials say the work of around 150 North Korean artists and laborers cost closer to $70 million.
No doubt they’re accounting for that on their books as goodwill.
Being a lifelong fan of Star Wars, I grew up with science fiction being firmly rooted in action and spectacle. What little I'd seen of Star Trek seemed boring … having watched the original series, I find myself in the unfortunate spot of having to admit I was wrong.
I was honestly not expecting much from it.
I’m excerpting heavily to make the point below:
… Star Trek can be slow and often falls on the side of the odd. …
That said, the show generally does well at turning its frequent absurdity into something watchable and often intriguing. …
… The show uses quality writing to overcome its sometimes zany premises.
There are countless episodes like this one where I was skeptical going in but wound up utterly committed to the story by its ends. It's one of the most skillful uses of episodic storytelling I've ever seen in a show …
… Without fancy and expensive effects to fall back on, Star Trek instead had to rely on its writing and the strength of its actors' performances. …
… There is, simply put, a sincerity and genuineness to Star Trek that is infectious. It's intelligent but lacks cynicism. It gives grandiose speeches but also has quiet moments of personal revelation that stick with you. It's a science fiction show, but one built on a foundation of likable characters and human drama. …
My impression of this is that if I deleted all the references to Star Trek, you might think that this guy has gone in skeptical, and come out a believer, after going to a week of performances at one of the better Shakespeare companies.
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