arts. writing. culture.

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All’s Fair in Rock and Voting

April 15th, 2014 · No Comments

Rock Paper Photo presented a private exhibition of fine art photographs on Friday, featuring the most recent set of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers – inducted just the night before – all in the name of  The connection? Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic.  The legendary rocker, whose band was one of the 2014 inductees, is chair of FairVote’s board.

No.8, the swanky velvet-roped formerly-“Bungalow 8” nightclub, filled with a mix of model-types and rocker-types as the night unfolded.  Its usual Cuban-inspired bungalow motif was adorned with blown-up photographs of rock and roll legends for the one-night-only show. Many of the photographs were familiar – the naked baby from the Nevermind album cover, for instance – and were taken by respected photographers of their own right.

I ran into renowned photographer Allan Tannenbaum, whose in-concert shot of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band hung across from the bar.  Orange is the New Black’s Jackie Cruz and musician Constantine Maroulis browsed the work and mingled in the crowd as well.  Novoselic, who spoke about his dedication to FairVote and the empowerment of women in government leadership positions, was gracious as ever, spending time with those in attendance. I was lucky to take a few pictures with him myself!


Krist Novoselic and Mary Alice Franklin in front of Allan Tannenbaum’s exhibited “E Street Band” photograph. (photo credit: Albie Mitchell)

FairVote is a nonprofit that educates and enlivens discourse on how best to remove the structural barriers to a democracy that respects every voice and every vote in every election… acting as a catalyst for electoral reform and voting rights. For more information, visit

Rock Paper Photo specializes in beautifully produced, hand-signed limited edition and largely unpublished prints of iconic moments of musicians and pop culture legends captured by renowned photographers. For more information,

The Rock Paper Photo/ event took place at No.8 in NYC.  (photo courtesy of STUNTMANpr)

The Rock Paper Photo/ event took place at No.8 in NYC. (photo courtesy of STUNTMANpr)

Jackie Cruz

Orange Is The New Black actress Jackie Cruz (photo courtesy of STUNTMANpr)Musician Costantine Mouralis at Rock Paper Photo exhibition with (photo courtesy of STUNTMANpr)Musician Costantine Mouralis (photo courtesy of STUNTMANpr)

Actress (Fargo) Rachel Blanchard (photo courtesy of STUNTMANpr)

Actress (Fargo) Rachel Blanchard (photo courtesy of STUNTMANpr)

Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, Chairman of (photo courtesy: STUNTMANpr)

Chairman of and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic (photo courtesy: STUNTMANpr)

→ No CommentsTags: Arts Events · Music

What You See Is Who You Are

April 10th, 2014 · No Comments

Painter Tanner Lawley likes for his work to create conversation.  His website states that he “paints from a place that is based solely out of love, abundance and his compassion for others,” and there he sat, Tanner from Texas, surrounded by paintings of colorful, energetic hearts at an ArtExpo NYC booth.  But in fact, just behind him hung my favorite of Lawley’s pieces – a white canvas with vibrant streaks of bright colors, primarily of red and blue.  After complimenting it, I could tell that I had already bitten the bait. “It’s called ‘What Do You See?’… So, what do YOU see?,” he asked me.

TannerLawley_What Do You See

Instead of keeping its original “Untitled” title, he had also posed this question to his Facebook followers after the work’s completion.  Personally, I saw a red car driving on a wet road, but asked about the most interesting responses he’s received.  “Lots of people have said a sewing machine, I’ve heard ‘Kitchen Aid mixer’, astronaut helmet… and I started to notice that what people see is usually a reflection of who they are.”

I started to wonder – is what we perceive relative to our existing experiences? Do we borrow from the things we’re most familiar with when we view the world, see artwork, hear the news or read literature? Lawley’s brother saw the sea in the painting, a prominent symbol in his company’s logo. His wife works with wheelchairs and saw a scooter. “People see a reflection of themselves,” he said.

So what does a red car on a wet street say about me?  The verdict is still out.

→ No CommentsTags: Artists · Arts Events

Why President Obama’s Apology to Art Historians Got It All Wrong

April 3rd, 2014 · 2 Comments

President Obama recently stuck his foot in his mouth when he encouraged a group of young people in Wisconsin to consider getting trained in a technical trade because they could earn more “than they might …[with] an art history degree.” Most people seem to be praising his proceeding apology, which came via a handwritten note to art historian Ann Collins Johns. I’ll have to disagree with the majority on this one.

President Obama's handwritten letter to art historian Ann Collins Johns.

It appears, based on his apology, that the president is still missing the point.

In his letter, Obama says that he was “making a point about the jobs market,” not “[making a point about] the value of art history”; however, by separating these points — the jobs market and the value of art history — he shows that he is misinformed about the impact the arts have on the economic landscape of our country and its local communities. The two are interconnected – one of the many values of art history is that it creates a stronger job market.

In his letter, the president referred to art as something he’s enjoyed; something that “helped [him] take in a great deal of joy in [his] life” – but let’s get down to the bare facts. Art isn’t just something pretty to look at in museums. Aside from greater quality of life, the arts as an industry stimulate economic development.  They have the capacity to greatly impact job creation, personal income and government revenue.

According to a 2012 study by Americans for the Arts: “On the national level, these audiences provided $74.1 billion of valuable revenue for local merchants and their communities.”

Attendance at arts events generates income for local businesses, even those not related to art. When someone attends a performance, they often go out to a restaurant first or stay overnight at a hotel after – restaurants, parking garages, hotels and retail stores all generate income from this audience member’s attendance at that performance.

The arts “support 4.13 million full-time jobs and generate $86.68 billion in resident household income.”

An immense amount of work goes into each exhibition, performance and artistic endeavor. Individuals and teams who publicize the show before it’s begun, others who perform in the show and still others who sweep the floors when it’s over all earn an income thanks to the arts – but so do the restaurant owners and hoteliers next door.

The arts help improve other job disciplines as well: They are used to train medical students for improved precision and observation skills. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, scores on observation tests increased among students who participated in the one-day gallery session at the Yale Center for British Art. reported that police officers and other law-enforcement officials who attended an educational session at the Metropolitan Museum of Art tailored to their discipline experienced improved deductive observation skills.

Of course, the above examples only demonstrate “jobs market” benefits, which doesn’t necessarily cover heightened emotional pleasure, improved academic performance, enhanced understanding of the world and those who live in it, growth in empathetic feelings, or the increased use of art therapy programs in hospitals due to its healing benefits for sick patients and recovering veterans.

But back to the numbers that may catch Obama’s eye: according to the Americans for the Arts’ study, the local, state and federal governments give out 4 billion dollars to the arts, but collects back in taxes and fees more than $22.3 billion in revenue from the arts.

In all, it’s safe to say that the arts “can lead to an honorable career” as well as stimulate the economic development of its communities – certainly something for President Obama to consider in his next “jobs market” discussion.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Arts Advocacy · Culture

Billy Joel to Play Once-A-Month Shows at MSG

December 3rd, 2013 · No Comments

(image source:

(image source:

For all those who have always wanted to see a legend, and for those die-hard fans who would love to see him one more time, here’s your chance.  Many chances, in fact. Madison Square Garden (MSG) announced today that music icon Billy Joel will become its first-ever music “franchise,” performing one show a month in the venue for as long as there is demand.  Along with MSG’s other franchises, all sports teams: New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty, Joel has become a venue staple since his first performance there in 1978.  He’s played 46 shows since and holds the record for consecutive sold-out nights by a single artist at The Garden.  Now Joel will play monthly, starting in January.  The previously announced shows (Jan 27, Feb 3, Mar 21, Apr 18) are already sold-out; however, a new one will take place on May 9–on Joel’s 65th birthday–and in the months following.

It’s appropriate, as the 130-year old arena recently underwent major renovations, that the new and improved future of Madison Square Garden should include its superstar entertainer.  “It is particularly fitting that these two great icons are coming together to make entertainment history right here in New York,” said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

“I’ve played different venues all over the world,” said Billy Joel, “but there’s no place like coming home to The Garden.”The GRAMMY Award-winning performer has sold more than 150 million records, is the third best-selling solo artist of all time and has been inducted into both the Songwriter and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

(image source:

(image source:

About Joel at MSG
MSG now offers a rich visual history of Billy Joel and his many Garden performances through a scrollable timeline, images, videos, lyrics, and more. Visit for more information. Join the conversation with #BillyJoelMSG.
For May 9, 2014 Tickets
The remaining shows will be announced later this year.
–Prices range from $64.50 to $124.50.
–Exclusive presale for Citi cardmembers: Dec 4 at 10am-Dec 6 at 10pm.
–Tickets available to the general public: Dec 7 at 10am via or 800-745-3000 and Madison Square Garden Event box office on Dec 8.

→ No CommentsTags: Music

Mercury and Bowie: Unplugged and Under Pressure

June 5th, 2013 · No Comments

Mind. Blown.  A few months back, a recording surfaced of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie in-studio singing the vocals of their now-iconic hit “Under Pressure.”  Without its musical backing.  The isolated vocal track, which was sung for the studio recording of the song has now, for all intents and purposes, become an unintentional acapella session.   They sound incredible; spot on.  If you’ve ever doubted them, their talent or their brilliance, listen on.  Take that, Vanilla Ice.

The original, for those who need a refresher or want to compare the two.

→ No CommentsTags: Music

“Before Midnight” Film Review: There’s Hope Yet

May 23rd, 2013 · No Comments


First, there was Romeo and Juliet.  And then there was James and Celine.  They met in 1995 when, in a sweeping romantic gesture, James suggests that Celine abandon their Eurail train and explore Vienna with him before his flight leaves at dawn.  The romantic tension between the two in Before Sunrise becomes one of fairy-tales, and a desperate hope lingers between them (and the viewer) when dawn inevitably does come.  Fast forward 9 years to 2004, when the two cross paths once again for a follow-up film, Before Sunset.  The characters reconnect and assess and evaluate how the other developed and grew since their first rendezvous.

So what happens when, still another 9 years later, all of that wonderment—all of the getting-to-know-you—fades?  When two people know one another so well that the other becomes predictable? When you can guess the next story the other will tell before they even decide to tell it?  Does the love fade or prevail?  That’s the question Director Richard Linklater has his viewers asking throughout Before Midnight, the film series’ third installment.

In 2013, we meet James (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) once again, and we meet their two daughters as well. The strengths of the first two movies remain in Before Midnight, which opens in theaters tomorrow. The Before series once again demonstrates brilliant dialogue and character development in the documentary-style fictional films that feature conversations so realistic you’d swear you’d spoken them yourself at some point. Only this time, the ease between James and Celine is traded in for a new type of complexity, and their relationship is tinged with a bitterness that lingers between them—one which can only be caused by the realities of life.  Always though, we feel the voyeur: a glimpse into their lives is a glimpse into our own.


These movies aren’t solely plot-driven.  There’s no violence and no extraneous sex scenes.  In fact, they are mostly about conversation, about the moments when time is both standing still and fleeting all at once.  Uninterrupted dialogue between the lead characters, portrayed brilliantly by Hawke and Delpy, continues for long stretches at a time.  It is filled with vignettes about moments in life that would otherwise seem insignificant. The movie is about a human connection; but, human connections are rarely if ever simple, easy and uncomplicated.

A more reality-based portrayal of the couple can hit invested Before fans with a bit of a chill.  Philosophy-steeped discussions and long gazes into each other’s eyes are traded for everyday dilemmas and circumstances: how to raise their children, whether they should relocate the family, and whether life is leading them in the same direction as one another.  From the wonderment of what could be, we’re introduced to what actually is.

Still, a glimmer of hope keeps its viewers tied into in James and Celine’s lives and it keeps them caring about the outcome of their squabbles and discussions. The characters of the first two movies are still there, they’re just buried under the weight of the responsibility and circumstance that comes with a long-term relationship and a family.  The first movies, steeped in idealism and hope, and swept up in spontaneity, are still there as well.  The connection is just more subtle—less reminiscent of a fairy-tale and more telling of a real-life hopeful love story—and therefore it’s somehow even more poignant than the rest.


→ No CommentsTags: Film · Uncategorized

What is SOPA anyway?: About the protest

January 19th, 2012 · No Comments

I didn’t post this yesterday in order to stay, at least to a degree, in line with the internet-wide blackout in support of stopping SOPA; however, I do believe that the cause is vital to address.  It’s important to become educated in order to help prevent our freedoms from being taken away.  Know thine enemy, yes?  So:

What is SOPA anyway?

Great question!  And one that many others have asked, particularly in the past day or so.  Yesterday, January 18th, you may have visited your favorite website (Wikipedia, Google or Wired, among others) only to discover that they were participating in a “blackout” for the day.  Sure that may have been inconvenient, but what if that one-day blackout was permanent?

SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are two bills that have been in Congress and are set to be voted on by the Senate on January 24th.  The point of the bill is to crack down on copyright-infringement  by restricting access to sites that host pirated materials.  If passed, these bills will set regulations on web content and allow the government to block these websites from the internet or its search engines.  Giving unnecessary power to the government to control our now open and free internet is worrying to say the least.  Many sites have become active in encouraging its readers to sign petitions that will show our distaste of this bill.  Google’s “motto” for the blackout, “Stop Piracy, Not Liberty”, resonated most clearly with me.  While I appreciate an effort to protect our citizens’ privacy, I think it’s just as important to protect our citizens’ freedom of speech.

We already have many freedoms censored:  literature, art and video games all get censored on a regular basis.  When we allow one thing to be stripped of free speech, it opens the floodgates for everything else to be amended or suppressed as well.  Cutting social networks, blogs and other internet resources in turn cuts our access to knowledge and information.  With the potential to harm functionality of small businesses, it cuts jobs as well.  Most importantly, it cuts our basic constitutional right to speak our mind and be individuals in a nation of such varied cultures, races, backgrounds and lifestyles.

  • 4.5 million people spoke up today and signed Google’s petition
  • 103,785 people signed petitions through the We The People website (according to the White House blog).
  • 25,000+ blogs on WordPress went black to support the cause
  • 12,500 WordPress blogs added a “Stop Censorship” ribbon to their sites
  • 50,000 sites promised participation in the online demonstration on Fight for the
  • An average 2,000 calls per second were made through Engine Advocacy, a service that helps people call their local Congress members
  • 4 million people used Wikimedia to look up contact information for their local representative

Our efforts are working: PIPA co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced yesterday that he is withdrawing his support of the bill!  Just because the blackout is over, doesn’t mean the fight is.  Support the protest of SOPA and PIPA by spreading the word, signing a petition, making sure you this article, share it on Facebook and LinkedIn (using the buttons below this article) or re-post it on your blog* to enlighten your peers, colleagues and readers.

(*If used on a blog, simply let me know that you’re using it by emailing me a link at and you must also link back to this site!)

→ No CommentsTags: Art News/ Art Projects · Culture · Media · Recommended Sites and Resources

Style and Color Trends: Spring 2012

January 4th, 2012 · No Comments

Our site’s founder, Mary Alice Franklin, was’s expert contributor yesterday! She weighed in on the hottest upcoming style, color and pattern trends for Spring and Summer 2012.  The article is still on Dig This Design‘s homepage, but you can visit the permanent post here:

“What’s Hot in Fashion for 2012″
Article by Mary Alice Franklin
Posted on
January 3, 2012.

In the article, you’ll see how these trends have been put to good use with examples by designers like Christian Soriano, Gucci, Rachel Roy and Alexander Wang, who have all used them in recent runway shows.  For even more examples of how designers are using these trends, visit our “Spring 2012 Colors & Trends” Pinterest board!

Dig This Design is the blog of national award winning Interior Designer, Patricia Davis Brown.

→ No CommentsTags: ArtFeedOnline News · Recommended Sites and Resources · Style & Fashion

Help save a child’s life for under $2

December 27th, 2011 · No Comments

This week, you can help save a child’s life for just $1.99.  That’s right: with all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, let’s not forget to be thankful for what we have and to help others get what they deserve.

Ruckus Media has paired up with St. Jude Children’s Hospital, as part of their Thanks and Giving campaign, through the end of the month.  When you buy one of their “Read-Play-and-Record-Along Rabbit Ears” interactive storybook apps for your iphone  or ipad, 100% of the net proceeds will go to St. Jude’s important research and ground-breaking strides toward the cure for children with deadly diseases.

Your children will love their favorite stories as read by celebrities.  Really, it’s a win-win:  You instill the gift of literature into your own child’s life while instilling the gift of hope into another’s. Don’t have a child?  Why not buy the apps and donate anyway, or gift the apps to someone else?  It’s for a great cause!  There are 11 classic stories, as read by the likes of Robin Williams, Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and more.  Buy one, several or the whole collection (all for under $22).  All are available on itunes (see links below).  Whatever you can give will support the struggle of a child in need.

The apps are especially convenient on the go, when you need something to occupy a cranky child’s attention!  Maybe your favorite story as a child was “Goldilocks”—well, now is the time to introduce your son or daughter to that same story (as read by Meg Ryan!).

St. Jude is the nation’s leading pediatric research and treatment center devoted solely to children with cancer and other deadly diseases and the only hospital that covers all of the costs for treatment, travel, food and lodging for each patient and a family member.

→ No CommentsTags: Charity/Non profit · Publishing/ Literature

Photo Featured on!

November 24th, 2011 · No Comments

One of my photographs, “Vinyl Underground,” has been featured on’s homepage today!  This truly gives me a feeling of accomplishment because only 3 in 1,000 ever make it onto the homepage features. In case you miss it today on, here’s the screenshot with a permanent link to the photo:

For those who don’t know, is an online marketplace for art and writing.  They feature an array of work which you can buy in the form of a print, t-shirt, greeting card and more.


→ No CommentsTags: ArtFeedOnline News · Websites