These ads for the new, third season of Orange is The New Black — where each character is depicted on the front of a Jesus Candle — started showing up in the subway last night on those interactive information boards that they have in some stations (if you’re lucky). I’m only on season two, so I have some catching up to do!
By now, everyone with an Internet connection knows that American Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died early this morning, February 2nd, 2014 of an apparent Heroin Overdose in his NYC apartment. He was just 46 years old. I am currently inconsolable over this tragic news. Hoffman was certainly among my favorite actors and I don’t think I ever saw film he was in where he didn’t blow me away with his ability to transform into his character. He was comparable to a male version of Meryl Streep when it came to his versatility. What a huge loss.
Here are a few of my favorite film roles Hoffman played over the years.
Almost Famous: Hoffman played the late Rock Critic Lester Bangs, who mentors a young William Miller (a character played by Patrick Fugit, and based on director Cameron Crowe) as he takes on a feature assignment for Rolling Stone Magazine.
Boogie Nights: Hoffman was totally believable as Scotty J., a shy, socially awkward, gay film assistant who has a hopeless crush on Porn Star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg).
Magnolia: In Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble drama, Hoffman had the role of Phil Parma, a private nurse who attempts to bring about a reconciliation between his terminally ill patient (played by Jason Robards) and that patient’s misogynistic son (Tom Cruise).
Red Dragon: Hoffman was so good at playing slimeball Reporter Freddy Lounds, you almost hated to see him get brutally tortured and killed. Almost.
Capote: Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2005 for his flawless portrayal of the flamboyant author, Truman Capote.
Synecdoche, New York: Hoffman plays ailing theater director Caden Cotard, who sets out to stage a theatrical production of his life story that takes on a life of its own. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you are on LSD without actually taking any drugs, watch this movie.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead: Hoffman plays Andy Hanson, one of two brothers (his costar is Ethan Hawke) who plan to execute a “perfect crime” that goes horribly, tragically wrong. The final film directed by Sidney Lumet; highly recommended.
The Master: Playing the part of a charismatic cult leader not-so-loosely-based on L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame, Hoffman earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as Lancaster Dodd.
RIP and Godspeed.
The late, great singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson was born on this day, June 15th, in 1941. I recently watched the unbelievably well-made documentary, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? which is now available on DVD via Netflix.
I’m a huge fan of Nilsson’s music, as he reached the height of his popularity in the sixties and seventies, when I was growing up, so I thought I knew a lot about the guy. But Who is Harry Nilsson? gave me quite a schooling on the details of Nilsson’s life and career that I couldn’t have imagined.
This insightful documentary goes way back to his childhood, his family life, his early career writing songs for others that grew into his own recording career as a solo artist, his film soundtrack projects, personal friendships with other songwriters and musicians (Nilsson was a favorite artist of all four Beatles and he maintained close friendships with John Lennon and Ringo Starr until his death) and a wildly in-depth overview of his recording process via interviews with those he worked closely with (the interviews with producer Richard Perry alone are worth the time it takes to watch the film).
Of course, it’s not like you don’t know how the story is going to end. A well-covered topic in Who Is Harry Nilsson? is the artist’s ridiculously indulgent and debauched Rock Star Lifestyle, which lead directly to his early death at age 52 – a tragic waste of an extraordinary and irreplaceable talent.
I was entirely captivated, entertained and profoundly moved by the life story of Harry Nilsson, who was extremely respected for his talent and considered by his peers to be the greatest American singer of his generation. There is no doubt that his influence is vast and deeply felt even today. Harry Nilsson died on January 15th, 1994 from heart failure brought on by a lifetime of alcoholism and hard drug abuse. If he were still alive, he would be celebrating his Birthday today. Happy Birthday, Harry, we still miss you.
Image Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum. All Additional Photos By Me.
Spring has sprung, and the cherry blossoms are in serious bloom out front of the Brooklyn Museum, where from now until July 8th you can see an exciting retrospective on the early career of the late Keith Haring. Here in downtown NYC, especially, Haring’s humorous yet socially provocative, instantly recognizable pop art images are enduring and almost ubiquitous even 22 years after his death. I’ve always been attracted to Keith’s clever line drawings and the sense of humor inherent in his work, but it wasn’t until I watched Christina Clausen’s 2008 documentary The Universe of Keith Haring (rent it on Netflix) that I realized what a true visionary and genius he was. It seems that the great ones always leave us too soon.
According to the official press release, Keith Haring: 1978–1982 is the first large-scale exhibition to explore the early career of one of the best-known American artists of the twentieth century. Tracing the development of Haring’s extraordinary visual vocabulary, the exhibition includes 155 works on paper, numerous experimental videos, and over 150 archival objects, including rarely seen sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings, and documentary photographs.
The exhibition chronicles the period in Haring’s career from his arrival in New York City through the years when he started his studio practice and began making public and political art on the city streets. Immersing himself in New York’s downtown culture, he quickly became a fixture on the artistic scene, befriending other artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, as well as many of the most innovative cultural figures of the period. The critical role that these relationships played in Haring’s development as a public artist and facilitator of group exhibitions and performances is also explored.
Pieces on view include a number of very early works never before seen in public; seven video pieces, including Painting Myself into a Corner (his first video piece) and Tribute to Gloria Vanderbilt; and collages created from cut-up fragments of his own writing, history textbooks, and newspapers. Keith Haring died from AIDS related complications in February of 1990 at the age of 31, but his art and message will live on forever. For more information on the Keith Haring exhibit visit the Brooklyn Museum’s website at this link.
Keith Haring: 1978–1982 will be on Exhibit through July 8, 2012 in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor of The Brooklyn Museum, located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, which is easily accessible from Manhattan via the 2 or 3 Trains to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum exit. So Easy! Hours are Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Thursday: 11:00 AM –10:00 PM and Friday–Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Phone: (718)638-5000 for Additional Information.
See Additional Photos from this exhibit at According2g.com and after the jump!
Stampede By Josh Keyes
One of last night’s hot-ticket gallery openings was the debut of Portland-based artist Josh Keyes’ new show, Migration, at Jonathan Levine in Chelsea. Migration features a series of paintings on panel, study drawings on paper and a ten-foot canvas entitled Stampede (See above), which is the artist’s largest painting to date.
On the subject of his show title, Keyes offers, “Migration and displacement were ideas that continued to surface in my mind while I was painting these images. I was thinking about the effects of climate change and the way some ecosystems that thrive in a specific range of temperatures — like polar or tropical climates —are experiencing a shrinking of their boundaries. Ecosystems that were separate are now slowly merging and overlapping one another, causing disruptions in the food web and increased competition for food and space among species. Some become displaced and are forced to migrate, in order to survive.”
Levine’s exhibit Press Release continues that: Keyes’ imagery in this exhibition pushes the potential consequences of ecosystem clashing to a climax that wavers on the surreal. A bright orange tiger rests contently on top of a graffiti covered dumpster, staring intensely at a pack of wolves, scavenging whitetail deer scraps from the tiger’s morning hunt. Below the smooth floodwater surface, glides a great white shark. A pair of giant pandas, marooned on a submerged jeep, watch with curiosity as the shark’s fin circles by. Deer, elk, wolves and other animals form a stampeding herd, charging through a city street, leaving upturned cars and ruptured pavement in their frenzied wake.
I liked the way Keyes’ paintings encourage imaginative extrapolation in the viewer while combining visual beauty with a sense of foreboding and dread. The story they hint at reminded me a bit of a film I saw not too long ago called The Last Winter, which I highly recommend adding to your Netflix queue. Something I had not seen before at a gallery opening was a formal, organized line of fans waiting to meet Josh, that snaked through Levine’s rear gallery – a line which I waited in for 20 minutes just so I could say Hi to Josh and get him to sign one of his cards. Josh was super nice and took the time to meet and sign stuff for everyone who was waiting – very cool! Also spotted in the packed gallery were notable local artists Michael Fumero, Beau Stanton and Dima Drjuchin, all of whom appeared to be really digging the show. You can read more about Josh Keyes and see additional pictures from the exhibit at This Link.
Josh Keyes’ Migration Runs through November 19, 2011 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery, located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor (West of 10th Avenue) in New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.
Confession: Most of the time, I can barely recall what Netflick I watched last night or what I ate for lunch earlier in the day, but ask me what it was like to be in Manhattan on September 11th, 2001, and I remember that day like it was still happening. I remember seeing the smoke from the first tower as I stood at the corner of 19th Street and 5th Avenue, walking to work that morning and thinking “Something’s on fire.” I can tell you what the weather was like (the most beautiful late summer Tuesday, ever).
I recall the most minute, bullshit details of numerous conversations I had with people that day. I can tell you what I made for lunch (pasta with chicken in red sauce). I even remember what I was wearing. It’s been ten years since that day and for me it’s like it was, as they say, just yesterday. I’m sure I’ll have the same clarity about September 11, 2001 for the rest of my life. If you were in NYC at the time, you can’t ever forget. But think about this: what is that day like for people whose birthday is on September 11th? That’s something I hadn’t really considered until I read this fantastic story in The Awl built around first-person testimonials from10 people who are unfortunate enough to have 9/11 as their birth date. Ten People Who Observe Birthdays on 9/11 is by far my favorite remembrance piece of the too-many-to-mention that I’ve already read over the past few days. It captures just the right balance of candor and uncomfortable humor that feel appropriate after a decade of 9/11 anniversaries. The piece starts out like this:
Jotham Sederstrom, 34, freelance reporter: On September 10th, my friends took me out for birthday drinks in Chicago. I was out until three or four, I think, at a place called “The Hideout,” among other places. I didn’t wake up until about noon, at which point everything had changed.
George Spyros, 44, executive producer: I got married the weekend before. We had a bunch of friends and family from out of town, and went out Monday night for dinner. My wife and I were supposed to fly out on September 11th for our honeymoon. On top of that, it’s my birthday.
Michael Wright, 44, editorial director: September 11th has always been the best day of the year for me — and then it all goes to shit.
Allison Spensley, 31, mid-career change: It was my 21st birthday, so of course I had plans to go out.
And it just gets more engaging. You can read the rest – and I strongly recommend that you do – Here.
HELP! is an amazing screwball comedy/adventure/musical film that was made in 1965. It stars The Beatles as themselves and is certainly one of my very favorite movies ever. I own a copy, of course, but if you haven’t seen it you should rent it. Because it rules.