Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shameless self-promotion

I know it's been forever since I've posted in this space, but I had to share some exciting news with you all: my first article for Gilt Taste, a personal essay about growing up first-generation American - and vegetarian - in a Persian family, just went up! Check it out here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buff or Bluff?

Los Angeles' MoCA, under the direction of Jeffrey Deitch (the first and only art dealer/gallery owner at the helm of a major U.S. museum) is at work on the first major survey of the history of graffiti and street art in the United States. The retrospective, titled Art in the Streets, will take place in April 2011 and will span from the 1970s to the present. It will feature over 100 artists (including Basquiat, Space Invader, Banksy, and Mister Cartoon), 25 of whom will have installations and murals on the premises. Deitch commissioned Italian street artist Blu to paint one such mural on the wall of MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary. The work, which depicted a series of wooden caskets draped in dollar bills (a replacement for the American flags that cover the coffins of those soldiers killed in combat), was buffed and whitewashed by the museum yesterday morning - less than 24 hours after its completion.

Was Blu's anti-war/death statement simply too controversial for the museum? One hell of a boring street art exhibit that would make, and so atypical of J. Deitch - what of his work with Kehinde Wiley, Dash Snow, Ryan McGinness, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel? Or did the mural perhaps offend the museum's veteran neighbors? The wall faces a Veterans Administration building and is within sight of a war memorial, but a VA representative said that they had placed no complaint to MoCA.

Just speculatin', but the reason for the paint-and-strip seems fairly obvious to me - Blu must have another amazing stop-motion vid up his sleeve, one that will serve as a commentary on the ephemerality of graffiti as an aesthetic genre and political movement. Why else would the museum erase a work they themselves commissioned? Pretty fresh when considering the many incarnations of the Deitch-helmed Bowery mural project, one of the best modern examples of the interaction between street art and fine art, not to mention the recent Underbelly Project. And what could serve as a more thematically perfect piece for the retrospective? Heard it here first, folks! If I'm wrong, well ... shit. That sucks.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My boyfriend is on Twitter

'Bout time. His first link - the"jailhouse Julia Child"'s recipe for Ghetto Tamales:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Literary dominoes

This is like a childhood fantasy come to life. And this is why real-live bookstores should never, ever go out of business - the staff of Bookman's Entertainment Exchange, an Arizona-based used-bookstore chain, put this together in 14 (off-work) hours. So rad.

via GalleyCat

Dynamic duo

During last night's Comedy Central telethon concert to benefit autism education, Tracy Morgan and Chris Rock dared cover Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon came onstage to school them, and the result? An autotuned version of "Scarborough Fair," Chris Rock in a turtleneck, a bewigged Morgan, and ... Paul Simon rapping? Just watch.

via ArtsBeat

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Further Falliteration

Free Fela!
St. Ann's Warehouse presents the music of Fela Kuti, the originator of the Afrobeat genre, on Monday, October 4th on Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. If you haven't seen the Broadway show, this is your chance to check out the incredible talent of Sahr Ngaujah and the band. If you snag a seat, you won't be able to stay in it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free Fall Fests

If you're in New York this weekend, here are a few ways to enjoy the start of the season, in especially glorious and unseasonable weather ... fo' free.

The Dumbo Arts Festival is a massive, all-weekend-long gathering of 150+ studios, 35+ galleries, arts organizations, music, performance art, dance, film, theater, etc.

On Saturday, experience Oktoberfest in Greenpoint, complete with free pretzels and sausages.

The bi-annual St. Mark's Church Block Party is Saturday as well - check out vendors offering vintage clothes, antiques, and snacks from neighborhood standbys like Veselka.

Sunday, head to Brooklyn Heights for the 36th annual Atlantic Antic Street Festival for ten blocks of food, festivities and fun ... you just might catch the Beastie Boys. Plus free admission to the Transit Museum and Brooklyn Historical Society.

Rather stick to the city on Sunday? Celebrate all things apple on Orchard St (ha) between Broome and Grand at NYC Apple Day.

Happy fall - fingers crossed for some foliage!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wyclef for President

Despite criticism of his foundation, Yele Haiti, in the months following the earthquake that devastated his homeland, Wyclef Jean has announced his decision to run in the next Haitian presidential election. The question of how adequately prepared he is for this role is up for debate. In his favor, Wyclef was appointed Haiti's ambassador-at-large in 2007 and since then, has done his part to promote awareness of the dire situation plauging the country. He plans to promote dual citizenship and voting rights for Haitians that have left the country.
At worst, this election may give Haiti a much-needed push back into mainstream media, whose coverage of Haitian issues has slowed significantly following the natural disaster, and bridge the gap between the country's expatriates and its citizens. At best, Wyclef's popularity with Haiti's youth (who are utterly disillusioned by their politicians) will allow him to practice what he preaches.

Politician or musician, I'll always have love for Wyclef. Catch his live public announcement on Larry King this Thursday at 9pm.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BLU my mind

My brother just introduced me to the work of the young Italian street artist who calls himself BLU, a man whose graffiti-driven animation calls to mind both Burton and Brazilian surrealism, while existing in a realm all his own. His latest work, "BIG BANG BOOM," is what he calls "an unscientific point of view on the beginning and evolution of life ... and how it could probably end." The piece is a collaboration between BLU and local artists in Argentina and Uruguay, where it was filmed. It is a breathtaking tour-de-force that truly blows his contemporaries out of the water. Guy is on his game - I can't wait to see what else is in store.

BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Howlin' for you

The most popular poem of its time and defining voice of a generation, which sparked a widely-publicized obscenity trial ... sure sounds like the stuff of a feature film, doesn't it? With an all-star (albeit perhaps too good-looking) cast featuring James Franco as Ginsberg, Jon Hamm as his trial lawyer, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, and more, Howl (the movie) has all the ingredients for a hit biopic. First Harvey Milk, now Allen Ginsberg - looks like Franco's in on the fact that straight actors in gay roles are pretty much Oscar bait.

Is it possible to do cinematic justice to Ginsberg's immortal words? Let's just hope Hollywood doesn't screw this one up - and hey, at least the poster's pretty.