April, 2016 Archive

10 Publicist Tips for Politicians from Renaissance Art

Alexander VI, Andrea Mantegna Renaissance art

Have current politicians given up on their public images? A 1989-era Keanu Reeves had an excellent adventure bringing rowdy historical figures to the future. Think Renaissance orgies, murders, bullfighting, illegitimate children and forced ascensions to Pope-ness would tarnish a man’s political image? Creators of Renaissance art left politicians an artistic tip list on how to help anyone portray themselves as Raphaelian angels. Politicians of today need only look to Gozzoli and Bruegel to present more like Hillary and Ted than Bill and Ted. Tip Number 1: We Rule the World, Peasant. Alexander VI in The Resurrection, Pinturicchio (1454–1513) A multitude of sins can be covered with gold robes and a prayer pose. Even at their most scandalous, modern-day politicians don’t equal the political résumé of the Borgias. Alexander VI — a self-appointed Pope, famous for very open corruption and immorality including reported orgies with married women, bullfights and at least        …read more

The ABC’s of Serving NYC’s Children in Need

Children in Need Program

How one organization saved thousands of homeless youth. Victor Reyes and his brother were born HIV-positive. Reyes, along with his two brothers and sister (two out of the four children were HIV-positive) went from their mother’s arms to their grandmother’s home through foster care, until they were finally adopted by a foster parent after a few years. Sometimes they were short on food, money and love. But through it all, one thing in their lives stayed constant: The Association to Benefit Children. “They helped us by having one center, something that wasn’t going anywhere, that wasn’t changing,” says Reyes, now 26 and a senior youth worker at the association. “Growing up in foster homes, all of our situations were so different, but knowing that something was there, that wasn’t changing — it kept me grounded.” The New York–based Association to Benefit Children, which was featured by Humans of New York last year, has a host of programs        …read more

War in Words — How One Soldier Battles PTSD

PTSD childrens book

A soldier can’t explain PTSD to his daughters. So he writes a children’s book instead. Even now, Seth Kastle has trouble finding the words. It was 2004, and the Army Company First Sergeant had just returned home from his second deployment in a military convoy unit canvassing the Middle East. At the time, consecutive tours were uncommon, and he had managed only four months of psychological decompression from his first deployment before heading to Iraq. It had been a long, stressful journey. “I was really trying to process what the last two years of my life had been,” he says. In his early twenties and newly married, Kastle tried to field the typical domestic issues — finances, the possibility of children — while being unable to articulate the changes that had come over him emotionally. During a disagreement with his wife, Julia, Kastle began to feel what he would eventually        …read more

When It Comes to Movies, Silence Can Be Golden

Silent Film Feature

Watching silent films enriches the modern cinema experience. If silence is golden, then the birth of silent film was a eureka moment for the entire world. In 1872 a railroad baron named Leland Stanford had an interesting idea. He wanted to prove that when a horse is galloping, all four hooves are off the ground at one point in its stride. This was a rather eccentric hypothesis at the time, and he and photographer and expatriate Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), who gained worldwide fame photographing animal and human movement imperceptible to the human eye, ventured to confirm it. Their efforts indeed proved Leland’s hypothesis and also paved the way for the idea of sequential photographs becoming moving pictures. The silent film era began in the late 19th century, a time in cinematic history known for the magical works of the Lumière brothers in France and the more naturalistic early films of Thomas        …read more

Glassblowers in Mexico Shape an Emerging World

glassblowing Mezcal Glass

How glassblowers at one studio are saving the planet and creating culture, art and jobs. The furnace glows a fierce orange-red, the color of the sun on a blazing day, emitting enough heat to melt glass into a viscous state. Christian Thornton and his assistant glassblowers, Arturo and Pablo, work the glass on the end of a long pipe, using metal tools, wet newspaper and wooden blocks to shape the glass that begins to harden as soon as it is removed from the heat. They work quickly, gracefully, like dance partners who lead and follow and anticipate each other’s next move. Back and forth, from the furnace to the bench as many times as necessary so they can shape and blow the glass. From this process, incredible things emerge: art and design objects, specialty mezcal bottles, cups and vessels. The process is the same in all glassblowing studios, unchanged over hundreds of        …read more

The Curse of Love Canal

love canal disaster

The worst environmental disaster in US history inspired a new horror novel. Usually when someone asks me, “Where did you get the idea for this novel?” I find myself retracing footprints through my mind. Ideas for novels rarely arrive fully formed on a red carpet; more often, they form as nebulous, shape-shifting concepts that collide with other ideas, reform, gestate, mutate and finally arrive on a plate resembling an altogether different meal than I had anticipated. This was not the case for Black Creek, my latest novel for Medallion, which pits the survivors of a deadly snowstorm in the area formerly known as Love Canal, New York, against vicious mutant cannibals seeking to reclaim their land. Although the story evolved in steps, I remember each one vividly. Writing instructors say, “Write what you know.” This is a good homily for settings for novels, not so much for actual stories. We        …read more

Tinder Supersized Me: Here’s why you should get out now


Tinder Supersized me. Made me the worst person I could possibly be. Not on purpose. It just happened. Let me explain… Week 1 on Tinder I felt elated. Empowered. Overwhelmed with validation as my matches began racking up by the hundreds. You’re beautiful. Stunning. Wow — you’re so hot. Tell me your thoughts. What did you dream about last night? What’s your family like? It’s refreshing how smart you are — how funny you are — how down-to-earth you are. None of the other girls I talk to are like you. Every compliment I’ve ever wanted to hear. And I gobbled that shit up. Like eating too much on Christmas. Like heroin. First you feel warm, happy and high. But then the sickness…. I don’t think it was Tinder’s intention to be so sinister. But the way I’m put together, the hunger always takes over. And then, after having thrown away        …read more

Some Dreams Are Worth Writing For

How my obsession with writing has evolved and endured. An “About Me” poster from my kindergarten days claims that at one point I wanted to be an Olympic ice skater, but I can’t remember a time when I wanted to be anything other than a writer. All of my memories point to that lofty ideal, to a stack of slim volumes of my writing that now lies gathering dust on a shelf in my parents’ house. As a kid, I read about teenage girls becoming knights, about young wizards and Native American women and kingdoms real and imagined. I loved the way images sprang into my head unbidden, how pages of writing could construct cities and human beings that seemed real and inextricably lovable. I don’t know what bridges the stretch of current from bookworm to writer, except that loving something eventually means you want to make it your own.        …read more

Mozawa Spotlights Millennials in Performing Arts & Mixed Media Masterpieces

portraits performing arts

Performing arts & mixed media take the stage in Chicago. In a Chicago art gallery last summer, a group of more than 55 international visual and performing artists from diverse artistic mediums took to the stage. A Chicago harp quartet, a New York sculptor, an Australian sound artist, a Japanese drummer and many others met for three intense nights under the direction of Matthew Ozawa in order to change the way people view millennials. “We put the artists in a large two-story gallery space, and we curated a show that would move people through different mediums, and would have people move through the space and view the live art — and took people on a journey of this generation,” says 32-year-old Ozawa. The Y-Portraits: Awakening project wasn’t something that was developed overnight. Ozawa, who was born in Los Angeles but attended Oberlin College and now resides in the Lakeview neighborhood        …read more