death

Greatest singer of all

Greatest singer of all

A common refrain I’ve heard expressed in the aftermath of Whitney Houston’s sad passing is “I’m surprised but not shocked” due to her well known past struggles with substance abuse, but I was actually surprised and shocked when I heard this (news that was incidentally texted to me while I was at a bar watching Jeremy Lin performing as Linderella). I was completely stunned because I had assumed that she had turned a corner. I want to use this soapbox not to focus on the macabre aspect of her death and troubles during her life, but instead use the opportunity vis-a-vis online bits and tributes as a celebration of her inimitable talent starting for instance with this: listen to Whitney Houston’s isolated vocals on “How Will I Know” to remind yourself how remarkable her voice was or as Oprah tweeted, “To me Whitney was THE VOICE.” I’ve listened to this countless times and I get goosebumps each time. That said, and this might be slightly blasphemous, but for the same reasons that Vulture made, I almost like the mash-up of Whitney’s vocals with Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” track better than the originals for both songs.

Remembering Cy Twombly

Remembering Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly ranks high on my list of favorite artists, right alongside his friend and fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg, with whom he shared a studio as well as a propensity for cat scratch marks of paint and pencil. His seemingly haphazard compositions have held me captivated in museums, where I have stood fixated, letting my eyes roam his great expanse of canvas until my feet became so tired that I actually sat down on the floor – an ardent devotee. This particular experience happened early in high school, when seeing a Twombly after years of studying only formalist, realistic and namely old portraiture and landscapes left me stunned, transfixed, as if anchored to the space in front of the painting by a force beyond my own.

Our favorite dandy, Sebastian Horsley, died

Our favorite dandy, Sebastian Horsley, died

After both of us were on vacation for a week, pretty much avoiding all news and headlines, we were shocked and saddened to receive an invitation to a funeral this morning for an acquaintance we didn’t even realize had died: UK artist, writer, self-proclaimed dandy and all-around nut, Sebastian Horsley. For a second we thought this might just be another one of his twisted art projects (like being crucified in the Phillipines), especially since the funeral invitation came with the following footnote:

The funeral will be filmed, by attending you give permission for your image to be used for possibly future commercial purposes (i.e. documentary and/or the film planned about Sebastian’s life).

That’s so very Sebastian, the eternally shameless self-promoter. But alas, it appears there are too many news reports for it not to be true.

Interview with Cynthia Wade, director of LIVING THE LEGACY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL

Interview with Cynthia Wade, director of LIVING THE LEGACY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL

Oscar-winning documentary director Cynthia Wade.

On May 17th, Sundance Channel will screen LIVING LEGACY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL which follows three young students as they separate from their parents and enroll in Milton Hershey School, a residential school in Pennsylvania. The film follows the children during their first school year – a turbulent, dramatic and eye-opening experience for the students and their families. Director Cynthia Wade speaks with Sundance Channel about her experience working on this film.

SUNDANCE CHANNEL: What first drew you to the story of Milton Hershey School?

Wade: I’d recently finished FREEHELD, a 38 minute film (which won the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary in 2008 and 15 other film festival awards). I was directing another short documentary in Cambodia (BORN SWEET, which won Honorable Mention at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival). With those two short films as my latest endeavors, I was eager to move back into long-form documentary and direct another feature-length film.

It’s a completely different experience directing a feature-length film, as it demands so much more material, time, patience, and energy — think “marriage” as opposed to “long term relationship.” I was ready for another “film marriage.” When I was approached by the Milton Hershey School as a director for this project, I jumped at the chance. It was exciting to think about staying with a project on a long-term basis, following characters over an extended period of time.

100 ways to kill a Peep

100 ways to kill a Peep

Marshmallow Peeps are like a pair of of Crocs sandals; you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. I belong to the latter group. Nothing against Peeps on a personal level, but I just prefer my Easter candy to be in the shape of a chocolate creme-filled egg (no, this is not a “viral” post sponsored…