Friday, October 31, 2008


Youtube video from rpungin2 from last year's parade
These are some of the giant puppets seen in the annual Village Halloween Parade. Also joining the parade were bands of different types of music, dancers and artists, and thousands of other New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation in the nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event in New York. The most wildly applauded were people who danced to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." This is the 25th year anniversary of Michael Jackson's ground-breaking "Thriller" video. The parade route was on 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 21st Street.

TODAY SHOW Halloween Costume Contest

Today Show News Anchor Ann Curry as Cinderella

The Today Show had a Halloween costume contest this morning, and Baby Clark's SPIDERWEB with her mom Megan (behind the spiderweb) won first place.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


When I visited the American Museum of Natural History to see the Butterfly Conservatory, I took photos of the diorama at the Hall of North American Mammals. These dioramas are created by renowned naturalists, artists, photographers, taxidermists and other museum personnel who blended their talents.
From the American Museum of natural History website:
James Perry Wilson (1889-1976), a master of artful illusion, painted the backgrounds for many of the dioramas at the Museum, including those in the Hall of North American Mammals. In addition to accurately capturing every detail, his paintings evoke the intangible feel of the places they depict. This is owed in part to Wilson's dizzyingly precise perspective, one of his signature qualities. In his dioramas the real materials of the foreground merge impeccably with the painted background, uniting the two- and three-dimensional into a seamless whole. Creating these illusions involved a great deal of research. To prepare the bison diorama, Wilson traveled to Wyoming in 1938 with a scientific specialist and another artist. There Wilson made color sketches, took photographs, and collected specimens for the foreground of the scene. On his return he painstakingly reproduced the Wyoming plains on the curved walls of the diorama. Other dioramas in the hall feature bighorn sheep, two moose locked in combat, and watchful jaguar.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MOBILE ART: Chanel Contemporary Art Container now in New York

Designed by Iraqui-born British architect ZAHA HADID, this spaceship-like glass fiber mobile art gallery recently opened in Central Park. I made this image last Saturday night in Central Park's Ramsey Playfield. The structure was inspired by the iconic quilted leather Chanel bag "2.55" created in 1955 by Coco Chanel. Fifteen artists contribute to the exhibition. Central Park marks the third stop of a two-year international tour for CHANEL MOBILE ART that began on February 27 in Hong Kong. It will head to London and Moscow next year before ending in Paris in 2010. 
On its travels from Hong Kong to Tokyo and now, to New York City, Chanel's Contemporary Art Container has been compared to a UFO, a pod, a spaceship, and an art-stuffed satellite that has floated to earth. Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel's president of fashion activities, has referred to the Karl Lagerfeld-commissioned mobile mini-museum as an "anti-white wall space," and its architect, Zaha Hadid, described it to us as a "an entire landscape for the art work, rather than just an exhibition space." Having finally experienced the ephemeral Mobile Art pavilion in the fiber-reinforced plastic flesh, we can tell you that it is far more organic than the stuff usually associated with outer space. Now welcoming its first New York visitors, it resembles a gleaming white dragon curled up for a three-week nap in Central Park's Ramsey Playfield. We could have sworn that we detected the faintest pulses of breath in its reticulated white skin.
The pavilion's fluidity and lightness is delightfully deceiving. The steel structure is shipped to its locations (next up London, Moscow, and finally, Paris) in 74 40-foot sea containers and takes approximately a month to install. "This dichotomy between the lightness of the exterior and the powerful structural mass creates a bold and enigmatic statement," Hadid told us. "We are concerned with constructing buildings that evoke original experiences, a kind of strangeness and newness that is comparable to the experience of going to a new country—or visiting a fascinating district of a city, an area that you've never had the chance to explore."
Part of that strangeness and newness is rooted in the container's complex geometry. Developed with technology pioneered in the automotive industry, its sculptural arches create viewing areas of various sizes, scales, and levels. For Hadid, it was a way to echo the layering and fluidity prized by Chanel, whose meticulously crafted quilted handbags were the starting point for the commissioned art nestled inside. But it wasn't the tidy angles of quilted lozenge shapes that inspired the structure itself. "For this pavilion, we explored the organic forms evident in spiraling seashells," noted Hadid of the structure's parametrically-distorted toroid form. "This system of organization and growth is among the most frequent in nature and offers an appropriate expansion towards its circumference, giving generous public areas at the entrance of the pavilion to interact with the local site conditions in each city."

Monday, October 27, 2008


Just a few days before the presidential election, I took these photos of the new window display at BARNEY'S featuring portraits of 43 American First Ladies, including prospective First Ladies, MICHELLE OBAMA and CINDY McCAIN. The portraits were painted by the artist LAURIE MUNN. The portraits of the two first lady hopefuls created some "controversy" and speculation about the political leaning of Barney's and its creative director. In the portraits, MICHELLE OBAMA is smiling with soft features and good lighting, while CINDY McCAIN's portrait is not flattering, with sharp angles, and she is depicted looking to the side. You decide.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


These are some of the scarecrow designs displayed yesterday around Bethesda Fountain in Central Park as part of this year's Pumpkin Festival. To celebrate the spirit of Halloween and creative expression, the Parks Department hosted its first citywide scarecrow competition. This competition was open to all NYC elementary and middle schools.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


These are some of the images I captured during today's PUMPKIN FESTIVAL in CENTRAL PARK. The New York City Parks & Recreation and Camp Sunshine sponsored the festival. Proceeds from this annual event will be donated to CAMP SUNSHINE, a national retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. This year's Pumpkin Festival featured activities for all ages, including:
Scarecrow Design Competition - Bethesda Fountain
Spooktacular Haunted House - Bethesda Terrace Arcade
Jack O' Lantern Tower - Bandshell 
Pumpkin Patch - Cherry Hill
Live music and other entertainment - Bandshell
Entertainers included the Big Apple Circus, Laughing Pizza, Derek James, Evan Michaels, and a fire eater!
Hayrides - 72nd Street Transverse

Friday, October 24, 2008

DIAMOND District

This is the DIAMOND DISTRICT on 47th Street, the "perfect setting" for diamond shopping in Manhattan. I took the photos from the Fifth Avenue side.
The Diamond District is the world's largest shopping district for all sizes and shapes of diamonds and fine jewelry at tremendous prices and value. When you shop for diamonds and fine jewelry, this is the first and only place to shop- New York 's Diamond District.
The United States is the world's largest consumer market for diamonds. Over 90 percent of the diamonds that enter this country go through New York City and most of them go through the Diamond District. More than 2,600 independent businesses are located in the Diamond District, and nearly all of them are related to diamonds or fine jewelry.
Because the 47 th Street merchants are located so close to where jewelry is made and where diamonds are cut and traded, our jewelers can offer you a tremendous variety of precious goods, great values and industry expertise.
The Diamond District is located on West 47 th Street between Fifth and the Avenue of the Americas ( Sixth Avenue ) in midtown Manhattan . We are within walking distance of many New York City attractions, one block south of Rockefeller Center, three blocks south of Radio City Music Hall (along the Avenue of the Americas) and three blocks south of St. Patrick's Cathedral (along Fifth Avenue). We are also just one block east of the Broadway Theater District.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Screening of Philippine movie "TIRADOR" at the Museum of Modern Art

Youtube video from deuxfleuves
Earlier this evening I attended a screening of a Philippine movie called TIRADOR directed by BRILLANTE MENDOZA at the Museum of Modern Art. The movie is being featured in "ContemporAsian," MOMA's showcase of films that get little exposure, but which engage the various styles, histories, and changes in Asian cinema.
Synopsis of Tirador (Slingshot). 2007. Philippines. Directed by Brillante Mendoza. With Jiro Manio, Kristoffer King, Coco Martin. One of the most prolific and acclaimed directors of the Philippine New Wave, Mendoza has created another virtuoso exploration of the volatile Manila slums. The camerawork in this verité portrait of petty thieves and hustlers is fluid, sweeping, and seemingly untethered, as frantic as the overcrowded shacks and ditches it captures. Mendoza uses this hybrid fiction-essay not to judge the questionable acts of his fringe-dwelling characters, but to subtly implicate political and religious institutions as a source of their problems. In Tagalog; English subtitles. 86 min.
This screening at MOMA is as follows:
Thursday, October 23, 2008 6:00 p.m.
Friday, October 24, 2008 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 25, 2008 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 26, 2008 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 6:00 p.m.

Review by Ross Miller:
I tend to automatically take to any film which depicts things in a very gritty and realistic way and subsequently I tend to forgive any flaws it might have. That’s exactly what’s happened with Slingshot; I haven’t experienced realism like this in cinema in quite a while.
Slingshot, or Tirador to use its original language title, from director Brillante Mendoza, puts us into the heart of a section of Manila, in the Philippines, where daytime robbery and violence is a regular occurrence. The film shows us some specific everyday occurrences within a certain part of the city using a style that feels like you are in amongst the people.
A pivotal element to making a film which depicts the everyday life of a city is for it to feel real and not manufactured. Through its “in the thick of it” camera techniques and general direction, that’s exactly what it does. The conversations feel like we are eavesdropping on them rather than listening to a written screenplay and the events we see make us feel like we’re among the crowd that’s standing close and we just happen to catch a glimpse of what’s going on. There isn’t a main narrative plot that the film follows but rather it’s a series of incidents involving a few of the same sets of people. I think this adds to the idea that we are just getting a small taste of what it’s like for people every day in this city rather than following a carefully plotted story.
In a very City of God way, the film’s editing is very frantic and cut very quickly together a lot of the time to get the desired effect. For instance, a fight might break out between two people and the camera will quickly cut between being right in between the two and then from the perspective of people all around, on balconies and the like. The various filmmaking techniques employed amount to you often not being able to tell whether it’s a fictional film (although probably based on the true events in generality) or a documentary. It certainly gives off a vibe that it was filmed during the city’s everyday life, perhaps using hidden cameras.
The film opens with a very frantic and heart-pounding police raid. This is probably the section of the film where the quick-fire editing and the ‘up-close and personal’ mentality is clearest. You could easily be one of the people being raided, one of the policemen, or just a bystander from the viewpoint(s) we get during the raid. It doesn’t quite match that scene in the rest of the film but it acts as a highlight, one of major moments to discuss with people afterwards.
What I admired most about Slingshot, though, was just how honestly and plainly everything is presented. As I said, it doesn’t feel manufactured or fake but rather feels as honest as a factual video account of what might happen in this particular city every day. And it’s always interesting to experience and witness a different culture to your own, to enjoy the contrast it provides.
Slingshot just goes to reinforce that there is high quality cinema available from all over the world and that not only the US and the UK make movies. The perfect description of it is “gritty and realistic”, to say the very least. Why, oh why, can’t more movies be like this?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Statues at the Met's Greek and Roman Galleries

On a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I made these images of a statue of a nude male, and young Hercules at the Greek and Roman Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
Description of Greek and Roman Art from the official website:
The Met's collection of Greek and Roman art contains more than 35,000 works dated through A.D. 312. The Greek and Roman collection dates back to the founding of the museum -- in fact, the museum's first accessioned object was a Roman sarcophagus, still currently on display. Though the collection naturally concentrates on items from ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, these historical regions represent a wide range of cultures and artistic styles, from classic Greek black-figure and red-figure vases to carved Roman tunic pins. Several highlights of the collection include the Euphronios krater depicting the death of Sarpedon (whose ownership has since been transferred to the Republic of Italy), the monumental Amathus sarcophagus, and a magnificently detailed Etruscan chariot known as the "Monteleone chariot". The collection also contains many pieces from far earlier than the Greek or Roman empires -- among the most remarkable are a collection of early Cycladic sculptures from the mid-third millennium BCE, many so abstract as to seem almost modern. The Greek and Roman galleries also contain several large classical wall paintings and reliefs from different periods, including an entire reconstructed bedroom from a noble villa in Boscoreale, excavated after its entombment by the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. In 2007, the Met's Greek and Roman galleries were expanded to approximately 60,000 square feet (6,000 m²), allowing the majority of the collection to be on permanent display.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

WALL STREET MELTDOWN: Lehman Brothers Building is now the Barclay's Capital

This is the former LEHMAN BROTHERS Headquarters in Times Square. It is now occupied by BARCLAY'S CAPITAL, a leading global investment bank. The structure was built by the Rockefeller Group and Morgan Stanley financial firm, and designed by KPF-Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in 1999-2002. Standing at 38 stories, the building was originally named Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Plaza, but was then sold to Lehman Brothers in October 2001for $750 million.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Apple Day and Go Green (Lower Eastside)

It was APPLE DAY and the GO GREEN launch on the Lower Eastside. I captured an image of these musicians on Orchard Street between Grand and Broome Streets. The event also featured apple tastings - Apple Pie to Chicken Apple Sausage to Chocolate Apple Truffles and Apples and Honey for Sukkot, Face painting and Family Activities for kids, Free giveaways! Toys, 500 Energy Efficient Light Bulbs, T-Shirts, and information on the best way to recycle, how to save energy and money, and the simplest things to do in your home to Go Green

From Lower Eastside Improvement District website:
Once characterized by tenements and pushcarts, Orchard Street gained its flavor more than 200 years ago, as families squeezed into cramped buildings that filled lower Manhattan. Industrious immigrants became the Lower East Side's first business owners. 

Selling their wares from potato sacks to thousands of local shoppers, successful business owners soon expanded their inventory and bought pushcarts - and eventually storefronts to make Orchard Street one of the busiest commercial districts in the world and the neighborhood a cultural mecca.
Over a century after hardworking immigrant families first crowded the tenements of Orchard Street, visitors from around the world are rediscovering the historic neighborhood and finding new surprises -- and all along absorbing the amazing history which characterizes the area. 

Come explore the Historic Lower East Side. Like thousands of immigrants before you, you may never want to leave.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

4th Annual Times Square DOG DAY MASQUERADE, Elle Woods and the Chihuahua that loves Barack Obama

PEANUT, a Chihuahua dressed as ELLE WOODS from the Broadway show LEGALLY BLONDE, is this year's BEST OF SHOW winner of the 4th Annual DOG DAY MASQUERADE held at the new DUFFY SQUARE. I took photos of PEANUT with her proud owner, HEATHER SCHEFFOLD, as well as some of the other dogs. The MR CONGENIALITY award went to CHIBAMA, a Chihuahua that obviously loves Barack Obama.
From the official website:
It’s Halloween for hounds as the Times Square Alliance presents THE FOURTH ANNUAL TIMES SQUARE DOG DAY MASQUERADE, a canine costume contest that’s free and open to the public.
Felines beware - dogs of all breeds and sizes have invaded the catwalk! Pretty paws and gorgeous growls are one thing, but the top prizes will be awarded to the dogs whose costume best evokes Times Square’s past or present, including historical figures like the VJ Day Sailor and Nurse, current Times Square characters such as New Year’s Eve celebrants, Broadway icons like the Phantom of the Opera, or even shady street characters from Times Square’s seedy past, because, as they say, poochin’ ain’t easy. And since this is an election year, 2008 Election-themed costumes are also more than welcome! Last year’s event attracted no less than 100 canine competitors, and past contests have seen dogs decked out as everything from taxi cabs to the Times Square TKTS booth.
Judges include: Karen Biehl, owner of last year’s Best in Show 2007, Director of Animal Behavior to the Humane Society of New York William Berloni, celebrity dog trainer on Broadway and beyond for more than 30 years; and Dr. Jill Richardson, Resident Veterinarian for - America's number one pet social networking site, and columnist for Fido Friendly Magazine. The show was hosted by comedian Wali Collins, whose television appearances include HBO, ABC’s “The View”, Comedy Central’s “Tough Crowd”, Commentary on VH1, “Late Show with David Letterman” and more.