Tony Sarg loved to draw. As a young man, he illustrated advertisements and drew jokes for magazines, but that would change once he was introduced to puppetry. Sarg designed marionettes, opened his own theater and even toured. He is credited with designing the (amazing) flying helium balloon characters that singlehandedly made the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade an epic event.
Balloons Over Broadway, the children's book about Tony Sarg and his fantastic balloon inventions, is a mild introduction to Sarg and his work. The watercolor illustrations don't do justice to his spectacular creations.
National Geographic Magazine sets the bar in photography that captures the world's people and places with amazing detail and dazzling color. Their annual photography contest winners reflect the shared passion for culture, history and the places of the earth we call home.
The 2011 winners have been selected. My favorite image; people going about their day in a monsoon, received an honorable mention.
One of my favorite actors, Jeff Bridges, has great presence and subtlety. Several of his best performances were directed by first-time filmmakers, which says a lot. The following films are for me, his finest work:
A beautiful bald woman beats a drunk man with her shoe to the strains of jazz horns. Every whack of her merciless stiletto in the deliriously brutal opening seconds of Samuel Fuller's film, The Naked Kiss pummels the viewer with; Who is she? What led up to this moment? Where are we going? Pure lurid pulp, the film is among the titles available from the film aficionado distribution company,
The Criterion Collection.
Why We Broke Up, written by Daniel Handler, Illustrated by Maira Kalman
Little, Brown Books (2011)
Min Green has broken up with her boyfriend, Ed Slaterton, and writes a long letter explaining all the reasons why, which she will include with a box of mementos from their brief yet poignant time together.
Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry written and illustrated by Leanne Shapton
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux (2009)
Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris have ended their relationship. A catalog of the items accrued during their romance is the evidence of the giddy high points and the bitter low points of four years together.
Waiting for a new season of Breaking Bad or Mad Men is a palpable ache. To fill that Walter White or Don Draper sized hole in your heart, look back.
Vince Gilligan, creator (executive producer and writer) of Breaking Bad got his start as a writer on The X-Files. Of the 30 episodes he wrote or co-wrote, Bad Blood, Drive and Pusher are among the best of The X-Files nine seasons.
Scully and Mulder interview Walter Modell in Pusher (The X-Files, 1996)
Matthew Weiner, creator/executive producer/writer of Mad Men, worked as a writer and producer for the HBO hit, The Sopranos. TheBlue Comet, an episode which Weiner co-wrote with series creator David Chase, is a masterful mix of tension and carnage. What may slip under the radar is Weiner's comedic writing for Andy Richter Controls the Universe. The show was cancelled due to poor ratings, but there's a whole lot of funny in its nineteen episodes.
Run for your life in The Blue Comet (The Sopranos, 2007)
I enjoyed all of Malcolm Gladwell's books, and passed my copies on to friends and family. There's a new boxed set
of three of his bestsellers, adorned with lively illustrations by Brian Rea. These I'd keep!
The reaction to the iconic photo of a young girl making her way through what seems a sea of leering men is visceral; the anxiety is palpable, the contempt for their brutish behavior is instantaneous. Photographer Ruth Orkin's photo American Girl in Italy is her best known image. The model, 23-year old Ninalee Craig, was traveling solo in Italy when she met the 29-year old Orkin. The two adventurous women shared stories with one another about their travels when Orkin suggested they'd create images of what it was really like to travel alone as a young single woman. Orkin shot photos of Craig for several hours, asking for directions, shopping, flirting and sightseeing. "We were literally horsing around," Craig said. "It's not a symbol of harassment. It's a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time!"