Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm Dreaming of Salvador Dali, Kristin Chenoweth & Soviet Barbie-


-Remember all those iconic Soviet-era posters extolling Russian female farm & factory workers? What would it look like if you replaced those Cold-War era women with Barbie dolls? Well, somebody's gone and done it!

- Chenoweth Fires Back at Newsweek for Criticizing Gay Actors in Straight Roles: "On Friday, Ms. Chenoweth, the Tony Award-winner and star of “Promises, Promises,” posted a lengthy online rebuttal to a Newsweek article that she called “horrendously homophobic” for contending that gay actors could not play straight characters, and citing her “Promises, Promises” co-star Sean Hayes as an example..." Read the full story


May 11, 1824: Jean-Léon Gérôme, French painter and sculptor, was born. "A French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism, the range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects. His work brought Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax, and he was appointed as one of the three professors at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He started with sixteen students, most who had come over from his own studio, and he became a regular guest of Empress Eugénie at the Imperial Court in Compiègne. When he started to show public hostility to the "decadent fashion" of Impressionism, his influence started to wane and he became unfashionable. But after viewing the exhibition of Manet in the Ecole in 1884, he eventually admitted that "it was not so bad as I thought".

May 11, 1888: Irving Berlin, American composer, was born. "Widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in history, his first hit song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", became world famous. The song sparked an international dance craze in places as far away as Russia, which also "flung itself into the ragtime beat with an abandon bordering on mania." Over the years he was known for writing music and lyrics in the American vernacular: uncomplicated, simple and direct, with his aim being to "reach the heart of the average American" whom he saw as the "real soul of the country."

"He wrote hundreds of songs, many becoming major hits, which made him "a legend" before he turned thirty. During his 60-year career he wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films, with his songs nominated eight times for Academy Awards. Many songs became popular themes and anthems, including "Easter Parade", "White Christmas", "Happy Holiday", "This is the Army, Mr. Jones", and "There's No Business Like Show Business". His Broadway musical and 1942 film, This is the Army, with Ronald Reagan, had Kate Smith singing Berlin's "God Bless America" which was first performed in 1938."

"Berlin's songs have reached the top of the charts 25 times and have been re-recorded countless times by singers including Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, Rosemary Clooney, Diana Ross, Bing Crosby, Rita Reys, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Al Jolson, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. Composer Douglas Moore sets Berlin apart from all other contemporary songwriters, and includes him instead with Stephen Foster, Walt Whitman, and Carl Sandburg, as a "great American minstrel" – someone who has "caught and immortalized in his songs what we say, what we think about, and what we believe." Composer George Gershwin called him "the greatest songwriter that has ever lived".

May 11, 1904: Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter, was born. "Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. Dalí's expansive artistic repertoire includes film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media. Dalí attributed his "love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes" to a self-styled "Arab lineage," claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors. Dalí was highly imaginative, and also had an affinity for partaking in unusual and grandiose behavior, in order to draw attention to himself. This sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork."

By Max Gerard.
Published by Harry N. Abrams: 1968.

The ultimate Dali book- big, brash, colorful, and filled with the artist’s images and words.



No comments: