I didn’t know the name or work of Nollywood actor Genevieve Nnaji, above, before today’s rebroadcast of Oprah’s “Meet the Most Famous People in the World” episode. But I’ll be looking for the 30-year-old’s films in 2010. Consider that my New Year’s resolution.
In this great clip, above, now cresting the web, two store employees join across “racial lines” to show that Hewlett-Packard needs to go back to the drawing board. That is, they better if they want their machines to work on a predominantly Black planet.
As a composer and arranger of Christmas carols, London-born John Rutter, right, works within what is arguably one of the most beloved, and oldest, forms of Western music, with a template laid down during the European Middle Ages.
It’s to his credit, then, that, whether re-interpreting long-cherished classics, or creating new ones, his works all shine with a lively and audacious sparkle. As sung by his much-beloved Cambridge Singers, favorites such as “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” or “Deck the Halls” unfold as though they were spirited, new, open-sea sailing anthems. Meanwhile, his own signature works are burnished with the passionate soulfulness of deeply reflected Christian faith and tradition.
I discovered Rutter’s portfolio when I came upon his own masterpiece, “What Sweeter Music,” wafting from a Volvo commercial, of all places. It is, without question, one of the most profoundly gorgeous pieces of hymnody I have ever heard.
John Rutter is the guest on the last edition, this year, of my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, airing this Christmas afternoon, Friday, December 25th, at 2 pm ET. Today’s is a special, holiday edition of the broadcast that we’ve aired once a year for about seven years now.
On this show, John will talk about, among other topics, his upbringing; spirituality in music; why he started his own label, Collegium; and the reasons that writing a carol is harder than writing a symphony, all between selections from his 2002 release, The John Rutter Christmas Album.
You can hear this thoughtful artist’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm ET. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.
Artist Jennifer Maestre makes profound, polychromatic, biomorphic sculptures from colored pencils, like Aurora, above. As she explains on her web site, to fashion her art,
I take hundreds of pencils, cut them into 1-inch sections, drill a hole in each section (to turn them into beads), sharpen them all and sew them together.
The resulting shapes
were originally inspired by the form and function of the sea urchin. The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the possible consequences. The tension unveiled, we feel push and pull, desire and repulsion. The sections of pencils present aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and aesthetic experiences.
Infinity and beyond: Experience Music Project, Frank Gehry, architect
Photo by Victor Gin
That Toronto-born Frank Gehry is the world’s most famous living architect, many would argue, is without question. It is best demonstrated, they’d say, by the instant recognizability of his style. Anywhere one sees it passionately realized—for example, in the flamelike arcs of Seattle’s Experience Music Project, above—one knows that only a single person could be responsible for that building.
Others would urge that his having been awarded not only the Pritzker Prize—”architecture’s Nobel,” as it is often regarded—or the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal but also the U.S. Congress’s National Medal of Arts, above, puts him in a singular class. Still others would note that he and his work were examined in a film by an Academy Award-winning director: Sketches of Frank Gehry, by the late Sydney Pollack, one of his his last films and only documentary.
I’d say, however, there’s really only one truly objective proof of Gehry’s renown: He’s the only architect alive to be featured on The Simpsons. In a 2005 episode, right, he’s hired to design a concert hall so that Springfield’s citizens will appear more sophisticated to their neighboring Shelbyville.
Of course, that it’s ultimately closed and turned into a prison isn’t the point. It’s that Gehry’s work has so much mindshare the Simpsons‘ writers felt him suitably big enough to both feature and lampoon on a mainstream animated series. An architect.
That episode aired, however, right around the time that, in real life, Gehry, right, had begun a new project with L.A.-based cultural writer Barbara Isenberg. She’d interviewed him numerous times over a twenty-year period, and Gehry, then 75, had just approached her with, literally, a once-in-a-lifetime offer. “He asked me if I would help him organize his memories through an oral history,” the journalist, below, says on her web site.
I was immediately drawn to the idea, having enjoyed our many earlier interviews, and what began as an oral history soon evolved into the conversations I’ve edited here. Since December 2004, Gehry and I have met regularly at his Los Angeles office and Santa Monica home, over restaurant breakfasts and conference room lunches. We’ve talked about the family he was born into and the families he created, who he wanted to be and who he became, what architects do generally and what he does specifically, always coming back to the family, cultural and geographic forces that have shaped his aesthetic.
Barbara Isenberg talks about Conversations with Frank Gehry, the book she authored, based on those interviews, during my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, December 18, at 2 pm ET.
You can hear her ideas—and Gehry’s—by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.
But this is the motherlode, friends: Weekly World News, the self-proclaimed “world’s only reliable news source since 1979.” (Google’s archives go back to 1980.)
Can you believe it? That’s the January 2, 1990 cover, above, courtesy of Media Assassin, complete with nutty Xmas messages and puerile racism. “Baboon boy”? It get’s no worse, people. It gets no better.