Sunday, August 31, 2014


Should we celebrate an artist who’s done something shameful? 
Can we venerate art produced by someone capable of evil? 
Should the two be separated?
Can we love the art and not the artist?

John Galliano (Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillén) 1960-  A Gibraltar-born British fashion designer who headed Givenchy, Dior and his own label. In 2011 a French court found him guilty of allegedly making "racist comments to customers in a café" and sentenced him to pay a total of €6,000 in suspended fines. In France, expressing anti-semitic ideas is illegal. 

 Leni Riefenstahl: 1902 -  2003 - A German film maker best known for her films TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and OLYMPIA, she left a legacy of cinematic innovation and her films are considered among the best in the world. Take a look at the diving sequence in OLYMPIA, it's technically and esthetically stunning, makes you want to fly.
Riefenstahl worked for and befriended Hitler and his criminal cronies. She was tried but never convicted of any crimes. However, Triumph of the Will does celebrate war criminals. She also produced beautiful photography and died aged 101.

Adolphe HITLER : 1889 - 1945
In case he needs introducing, Hitler was an Austrian-born German who aspired to be a professional artist but was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

He became a politician and killer of millions instead. His art is not a glorious thing so it's not hard to refrain from celebrating it. But people do buy it and not for it’s beauty, so what else would they be celebrating but the monstrosity of the artist?
Art, Beauty, Fashion, Painting, Film, Galliano, Riefenstahl

Friday, August 22, 2014


There’s so much literary advice online, I thought I’d offer some practical ideas for beating out the words. Be prepared and you won't waste time looking for stuff when you're aflame with inspiration:

1) Stock up on tea/coffee, chocolate, waters and champagne.
2) Surround your desk with spider plants, ferns and aloe vera for extra oxygen to fuel your brain.
3) Have an excellent dictionary on hand.
4) Line up some good music or sound loops of oceans or rainforests.
5) Make an outline grid for plot, characters, places.
6) Create your characters.
7) Describe your settings.
8) Read magnificent books.
9) Steal from the best.
10) START! The dazzling opening can only come after you've finished the book, so just start already.
11) Write a rough draft: one sentence per chapter.
12) Write at different times of day/night to see which suits you.
13) Walk/do chores while thinking & never call it "procrastinating".
14) Don’t throw in vast swaths of Googled text - zzzzzzzzz.
15) Surprise your readers.
16) Keep a notebook, it’s easier than backs of envelopes.
17) Ruthlessly kill your misplaced darlings.
18) Stand, stretch or walk for two minutes every hour.  
19) Don't get crumbs in your keyboard.
20) Finish the book. 


Friday, August 15, 2014


Robin Williams didn’t so much make me laugh as marvel open-mouthed at the lightning-fast intelligence behind the wit and the perfectly matched gestures. You can see him thinking, comparing, concluding and performing while vacuuming in everything around him through those intelligent blue eyes.

Animation and Robin Williams were made for each other as you can see in this fabulous ALADDIN number animated by Eric Goldberg. The art was inspired by Al Herschfeld’s lyrical lines visible in the curled fingers of the Genie on the right --> and the  actual Herschfeld drawing below. Williams and Disney had a falling-out over the promotion of ALADDIN and he refused to do the voice of the Genie in any subsequent projects, his voice being replaced by the wonderful Dan Castellaneta of Homer Simpson fame.

Here’s the young Robin Williams performing in 1977: the remarks to the audience and crew are particularly biting but without malice, leaving everyone laughing in his dust.

I once saw him walking up Madison Avenue, his face lit up in the crowd, his little red cheeks radiating beams of bliss, reveling in the turned heads and admiration that followed him up the street. For those of us who didn’t know him personally, he’ll always be here in his videos and films, making us laugh and marvel at his talent.


Friday, August 8, 2014


As we’ve noticed at least one modification to Twitter’s recent terrible design changes (FOLLOWERS is now only two huge bios across but still annoying as we have to read across and down), perhaps these suggestions could find their way into the Twitter format to make it as easy-to-use and well-designed as it should to be: 

1) The ugly PROFILE format with the too-big avatar and the too- wide-and-narrow background could be vastly improved by centering the avatar and bio as it was before. Omit the date we joined Twitter, nobody cares.
Small centered avatar
Top line:  name, Twitter name and place
2nd and 3rd lines: Bio
Bottom line: Photos and videos – LINK to blog   
2) the FOLLOWERS format, a lugubrious glob of giant bios with avatars, background picture two or three bios wide which has to be read not only vertically but horizontally as well. TMI, dudes, are we toddlers who need such big pictures? Go back to the vertical list of easy-to-read names & tiny avatars, perfect to scroll through. We can look up bios of interest ourselves, just like adults. 

3) Many folks misuse the FAVORITE star in the mistaken belief that it’s the equivalent to "liking” something on Facebook, but only two TWITTER users ever see it. On Twitter the RT button is all we need. Please replace the FAVORITE star with a DM button.  

4) We can look up our followers under FOLLOWERS, no need to inject them into our ME timeline. 

5) We’d like to send a Tweet without accidentally including unwanted Twitter #addresses from the list of usually-not-helpful #addresses stuck to our cursor in the Tweet box. 

6) TWEETDECK (which Twitter owned last time I looked) doesn’t let us paste pre-written messages or links in the TWEET BOX and links aren't automatically shortened pre-posting anymore so they sometimes take up 140 characters. Please invent a new algorithm or whatever that lets us paste a pre-typed Tweet and especially an automatically shortened link into the Tweet box. 
And, BTW, when we hit the reply arrow, our own name comes up so we're talking to ourselves. We'd like to answer a Tweet without extensive cutting and pasting. Also, Tweetdeck changes our blog URL to a one, totally messing up our stats.

Thank you! 
Who’d like to see improvements in Twitter design?