Just in time for Christmas. Or Chanukah. Are you disappointed with the way that job interview went? No problem. Mad you won’t be able to get a single gift of your holiday shopping list? It happens. Sad people walked away from you in the subway as soon as you began your series of very witty and straight to the point out-loud comments about the news you’ve just read? Never mind. For instead of start cursing, kicking and acting all crazy, you can now just punch a panda.
That’s right. Performance artist Nate Hill came up with a very selfless way to offer solace to his fellow New Yorkers: he dons a Continue reading →
The Mayor of Castellammare di Stabia, Luigi Bobbio, ordered police to fine women who wear their skirts “too short.” People familiar with the matter, who asked to remain anonymous because, after all, they’re not that familiar with the ruling, said the mayor himself, a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, may be making sure violators shall be persecuted to the fully extent of the law. Just like it happened 100 years ago this year.
If you’re not well acquainted with the agitprop world of graffiti expression or street art, or don’t live in one of the slums of South America, Asia and Africa, you may never have heard of J R, the secretive Parisian artist who just won the TED’s 2011 “Wishes Big Enough to Change the World” award.
But to scores of impoverished communities around the world, it’s Continue reading →
In the summer of 1967, these two young women decided to take a stroll in Porto Alegre, south Brazil, sporting the latest fashion apparel of the time, the miniskirt. Mary Quant‘s greatest contribution to the world, hardly a year old by then, was all the rage in the Swinging London of the 1960s as it was in New York, Paris, even Rio de Janeiro.
But not in Porto Alegre, apparently. Their pioneering spirit and sense of style got all but lost to the small crowd that Continue reading →
Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn, two Dutch artists, had a very good idea. They asked residents to paint the facades of 34 houses of Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Marta favela. The result is visually arresting and socially relevant. The painters were paid for the facelift of their own community. “O Morro” (which means both the hill and the slum), as the two-year ongoing project is called, didn’t solve ingrained social woes afflicting one of the world’s most beautiful cities nor it intended to. But it does make a difference for the better.
The other night, a police cruiser caught up with a group of people gathered inside a tunnel in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil. As they approached the group, fearing it may be vandalizing the place, they came across a rare act of positive urban guerrilla. For instead of paint and brushes, the group was using brooms and soap to clean up the thick layer of soot that accumulated on the walls of the tunnel over the years.
To underscore their effort, they also “carved” on the dirt a sentence in their native Portuguese that reads: “For a clean Porto Alegre.”
The act is a friendly reminder for the hundreds of thousands of drivers who zip through the tunnel every day that the pollution their vehicles produce in a regular basis is left behind, imprinted forever on its walls.
That is, if no one else joins in the effort to help find ways to keep their city clean.
Artist Created Iconic Diner
for Nighthawks of New York
Many searched for the place in the winding streets of Greenwich Village. Some looked for years for signs of its faded glory. But in the end, as in many works of art, what they were all after existed only in Edward Hopper‘s imagination.
That’s what Jeremiah Moss, the blogger behind the “Vanishing Continue reading →
80 years ago today, Judge Joseph Force Crater hailed a cab at the corner of 45th Street and 8th Avenue never to be seen again. The case of the State Supreme Court justice went cold after a few decades but never ceased to ignite New Yorkers’ imagination.
One of them, novelist Peter Quinn, just released “The Man Who Never Returned,” a fictional account about what may’ve happened to Crater, who served with Peter Quinn senior at the Foley Square courthouse.
Crater stepped into oblivion but will live forever, whether his case is solved or not. To us, though, it’s just delightful to be entrusted with his lore and one Sally Lou Ritz, 22, a showgirl he had his last meal with and who also disappeared a few weeks after him. For a time, his name became a colloquial reference, as in, he pulled a Judge Crater on me. But then the Great Depression hit and these two never got a chance to inspire a single Broadway musical.
It’s not the first time Italian artist Max Papeschi takes an elaborated, albeit cheap, shot at the Disney iconography. What never ceases to surprise anyone paying attention is how he always prompts the same outraged reaction.
All it took, this time, was for him to slap Mickey Mouse’s head on a naked female body with a swastika next to it, for good measure, and voilà, another eruption of enraged comments popped up all over the European press.
The gigantic outdoor poster with the image is at the entrance of the artist’s new show in Poland, where predictably strong feelings about nazi horrors are still raw. But a quick Continue reading →
65 years ago, Japan capitulated and the end of World War II was officially declared. An iconic picture of a sailor and a nurse kissing in Times Square captured the moment when a crowd said to be in the millions swelled up to celebrate what they hoped was the end of all wars.
Today there’s an open call to couples to come and kiss at the same spot where Edith Shain, the finally identified nurse, and her impromptu Romeo met, kissed but abstained from telling anyone for almost six decades. A 26-foot statue portraying their encounter will also be on display till Tuesday.
So come on over. For those who can’t bring a date, it may be one of the last chances to meet one this summer. Who knows? Maybe next year, you two will be in contention to become an iconic couple too.
For someone who once said, “In the future, everybody…,” well, you know, a phrase that has since sasheyed into popular culture, Andy Warhol (1928/1987) didn’t do so bad for himself. A 1986 self-portrait just sold for almost a third of a Picasso at a Sotheby’s auction. And nothing indicates other multimillion dollar works of his won’t sell as profitably as well. Designer Tom Ford was the previous owner and secretive Anonymous Bider, an art collector, outbid everyone for the purple Warhol painting.
An idea, brainstormed by Russell Simmons, Sean Bonner and Glen E. Friedman, turned Simmons’s home windows into a statementto tolerance and a call for peaceful coexistence among all New York faiths.
It should be obvious to all but we’re glad some would still take the time to come up with fresh ways to remind us. So if you walk on by it, take a picture and send it to your friends, to show that you care too.
Common Dreams caught this one, arguably the worst ad campaign in recent memory. Perhaps the ‘droids’ who came up with it didn’t know it.
It’s not enough that the picture conjures terrifying memories of those taken at the Abu Ghraib prison, but the last image of the video manages to take it even further. The ad’s iconography is so tasteless that to call it ‘clueless derison,’ for the sake of a catchy rhyme, sounds equally insensitive.
And so it’d be to hope that Wireless Verizon’s reception is as terrible in Baghdad as it is in certain parts of the city.
In fact, we could send them an outraged text message right now, if only our own reception were not breaking up.
Harmless Police Mishaps &
The People Who Love Them
A burglar who stole about $90 from an elderly woman in England is getting more than his fair share in the glare of the fashion spotlight, thanks to the Hampshire police. The cause for such a widespread alarm to fashionistas and, well, elderly women all over is the sketch the good cops released of the now more than notorious criminal.
The sketch, known in England as an “e-fit,” for you non-anglophiles out there, shows some well defined facial features of the offender, who’s said to be on his 40s and having wavy blond-grey hair. Now, about Continue reading →
The crash of a commuter plane in Congo in August that killed 19 people was caused by a crocodile who got loose in the cabin while the aircraft prepared to land. As the stewardesses panic and hurried to the cockpit, so did the passengers, causing a stampede that threw the plane off balance.
According to the crash’s sole survival, a passenger had hid the reptile in a big sports bag, hoping to sell it in Bandundu, the flight’s destination from the capital Kinshasa.
The plane went down and exploded on an empty house near the airport. The crocodile survived the accident but was killed afterward by a blow from a machete. Neither the animal’s size nor his killer are known at this time.
It was the worst instance of a crocodile bringing down an aircraft but not the only one. Last year, a helicopter crashed in Australia, after the pilot decided to fly over one such reptile and have a closer look. He and his passenger survived.
Another proof mankind may not be the most evolved species on this planet. A Russian entrepreneur trying to attract attention to his parasailing business, had the ill-conceived idea of parading a donkey 50 feet above stunned beach goers on the ground.
Witnesses said the poor creature was flailing his limbs in fear and, after half hour, was dragged through sea and sand as he was lowered down. Despite some locals’ dubious claim that the donkey did not suffer, the police of Golubitskaya, on the Sea of Azoz, may consider animal cruelty charges against the unidentified business.
“Revenge!” Cry Families of
Geese Shot in Prospect Park
In a case that may go all the way to the Supreme Court, high-powered lawyers for relatives of the hundreds of low-flying Canadian geese who were executed by federal agents last month in a Brooklyn park filed yet another appeal for a stay on their death sentence.
For the memory-challenged, the geese were accused of causing a near tragedy over the skies of New York City when they clogged an airplane’s turbines and forced its pilot to an early retirement as a hero. The now worldwide famous Viagra-powered captain managed to land the plane on the Hudson River, travelers and crew safe and sound.
The lawyers claim their clients are being unfairly targeted Continue reading →
Dead Penguins in Brazil’s
Beaches Starved to Death
A record number of dead penguins with empty stomachs washed ashore in Brazil in the past 10 days. Overfishing may be the cause for their death by starvation, marine biologists say.
But no one knows why so many more than usual died this time around, up to 500 black-and-white Magellan penguins, found in three Sao Paulo state beaches.
They migrate this time of the year from Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands searching for food in warmer waters, but usually only 10 in average end up dead in Brazilian beaches.
A Flying Donkey, A Crashing
Whale & 500 Dead Penguins
Suddenly, three unusual animal stories broke news yesterday throughout the world. Colltales couldn’t help it but tried to make sense of them all. It couldn’t, of course. Yet, if their deeper meaning eluded everyone, in the end, some sort of twisted justice did prevail.
In a Russian beach, a mentally-challenged entrepreneur paraded for half hour a terrified donkey 50 feet above stunned beach goers on the ground. The police of Golubitskaya, on the Sea of Azoz, may consider animal cruelty charges against him. Oh the humanity, etc.
Thousand of miles away, in Brazil, other beaches also witnessed a sad spectacle: 500 dead penguins washed ashore, their stomachs completely empty, biologists found out later. These birds are known to beach themselves there at this time of the year but no one had ever seen so many dead together or even has any idea why. Ill-fated migrants.
And to wrap it all up, out of the blue, for no apparent reason, a 40-ton right whalecrashed a sailing boat in the waters off Cape Town, in South Africa. The impact flatten the boat’s mast and terrified the tourists aboard who, up to that point, were having a whale of a good time. But no one put it better than a sailor who saw it happened: “It looked like it was angry or something…” No shit.
A trove of never-before published Polaroids of John Lennon, his three Beatle mates, Harry Nilsson, Pete Moon and members of the Rolling Stones has just been uncovered. Patti Daley, a close friend of late guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, took them in the 1970s and now has decided to share them with the world.
When Lennon left Yoko Ono in 73 and spent 15 months in California in what he later called his “lost weekend,” his rented Santa Monica house quickly became a Continue reading →
It’s not on any map or chart yet. It has no name. At high tide, it’s about the size of two and a half football fields, but it’s at least 10 times larger when the tide is low. And it’s 20 minutes off the French coast, near the mouth of the Gironde estuary. That’s pretty much all everybody can agree about it.
To some, “L’île Mystérieuse” is not even an island, but a sandbank. There are those who believe it’s only 18 months old, while others swear they’ve been going there for 15 years. Environmentalists, geologists and naturalists say the island is likely to expand, rather than disappear, and therefore, should be protected from the human presence.
Partygoers and regular visitors wish such buzzkillers would just go away and let them do as they please on the new land. They even congregate under the “île Mystérieuse Liberation Front.” For them, it should be declared a semi-independent territory of the people, and all this talk about regulation is just too much.
Oh, but there’s something else everyone seems to agree about the Mysterious Island: it’s very, very beautiful. And it’s French, of course.
After spending 69 days buried underground, it’s time for the 33 Chilean miners to start a new chapter in their lives, which will be forever marked by this experience. As the country and world celebrate their endurance, a few hard questions are in order. First of all, they all should be financially compensated by their employee for the ordeal, while the glare of public scrutiny and the global attention are still on them. One also hopes they’ll sign lucrative publicity deals very soon to assure their families a comfortable life. Above all, Chile will need to revaluate carefully its reliance on a national strategy heavily dependent on mining, against the threat of natural disasters, the damage to the environment, rising health care costs and the ultimate loss of human life commonly associated with such ventures.
Island Bigger Than Manhattan Is
Drifting Away from the North Pole
A gigantic chunk of ice, four times the size of Manhattan and as thick as half the height of the Empire State Building, split up from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland, eroded away by ocean warming currents at its underbelly, according to scientists.
Its estimated freshwater content could keep flowing the Delaware or Hudson rivers for more than two years, or all U.S. public tap water for 120 days. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see all this water around, though, as the island is expected to slowly drift away towards the Atlantic.
Ice chunks breaking away from their glaciers is a common phenomenon, according to glaciologists. What’s unusual is the large sizes of recent break offs, more typical of Antarctic icebergs, and the rate the currents are causing them to split, 25 times that of the surface melt.