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Keith and Kovacs April 13, 2011

Posted by judylobo in art, Links, Politics, Videos.
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Boy, do I miss Keith Olbermann.  Last night, thanks to my sister Terry, we went to the Paley Center (the Museum of Television and Radio) to enjoy 90 minutes of ‘The Life and Legacy of Ernie Kovacs’, moderated by Keith Olbermann.

‘Cerebral and surreal, Ernie Kovacs was one of television’s most daring and subversive originals. From 1950 until his untimely death in 1962, the outrageous comedian used the small screen as his personal comic canvas, challenging the medium’s conventions and assumptions. Moderator Keith Olbermann, himself a master of pop culture references, will lead a discussion about Kovacs’s offbeat sensibility and how it paved the way for future experimentation by Monty Python, David Letterman, and MTV. George Schlatter and his wife Jolene Brand will put their friend’s life in perspective, while two of the most innovative creators of contemporary television, Robert Smigeland Joel Hodgson, will examine why Kovacs remains relevant today. Historian Ben Model will reveal how he curated the definitive box set of Kovacs’s work, which will be released by Shout! Factory on April 19. The evening also will feature exemplary highlights of Ernie’s art, testifying to his personal motto, “Nothing in Moderation’

The evening was funny and entertaining but what I enjoyed most of all was seeing Keith again.  I have missed his Countdown more than I realized.  Yes, I have been distracted these past few months about politics, the world and the demolition of our system of government as we know it, but last night I was energized again.

Contractually, Olbermann is not allowed to speak about his separation with MSNBC so there were vague and subtle references all evening about his estrangement with the network that the crowd enjoyed.  Keith will be back on the air on Current TV sometime soon.  I for one, will tune in.

If you are not familiar with the work of Ernie Kovacs there is a treasure trove of snippets on youtube and the new boxed DVD set is now available.  He was a genius who tragically died in a car accident at the age of 42.  Below are just two of my favorites.

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Recess Days January 3, 2011

Posted by judylobo in art, Photography, Politics.
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Look out – here comes the new session and the new Congress. I could not resist sharing the Senate calendar with you after I spotted it this morning. Check out the number of recess days.  Not a bad gig, eh? The recess days are in red. The Snow Dude above was seen in my local Madison Square Park last week after our 20 inches of snow.  Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Old Woman Yells at Cloud October 26, 2010

Posted by judylobo in art, Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics.
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Yes, it is me.  I know, I know – the sounds of silence have been deafening from Casa Lobo.  My ranting has been redirected into more creative efforts but do not for one minute think that I am not screaming at the newspaper, TV, and the Internet.  My poor dog Benny is often startled by my outbursts of rage.

How angry am I at the Blue team for throwing away a once in a generation chance of their controlling both Houses of Congress AND the White House?  Oh – I am very angry.

I am more angry at the Bush thug policies that the Obama adminstration has chosen to hang on to thereby moving us closer to a police state than ever.  I am angry at the Obama administration for allowing their message to be out-shouted by every Tom, Dick and Tea partier.  The list is long.

I am also depressed, exasperated, incensed and frustrated.  Can the crazies that have choked the airwaves these many months actually win the offices they are running for?  I am frightened to say – Yes, they can!

Will a Republican controlled Congress be a good thing?  Is your memory that short that you have forgotten what they did a few years ago?  With Subpoena power Darrell Issa is going to be getting a lot of face time on your local screaming TV channel.

So what’s this liberal, pro-choice, feminist card carrying old woman supposed to do?  I will continue to fight the good fight.  I will go out in one week, on November 2nd and vote the straight Blue line and bite my nails that very long Tuesday night.

What are you going to do?  Whatever it is – it MUST include voting.  AND – make sure that your friends are voting too.

Remiss, Bothered and Bewildered May 19, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, art, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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Thud.  Okay, I said it. I was REMISS. I totally overlooked my usual obsession with the conclusion of the Bernie ‘THUD’ Kerik scenario as he walked the walk and left for a four year term in prison.  He was kicking and screaming along the way.  See ya’ Bernie.  Sadly, he is not going with some of his cronies who should be locked up along with him.

The oil spill has also BOTHERED me to no end but there is so much guilt to go around I could not focus on a target. Ken Salazar’s appearance before the Senate yesterday was a joke.  Go Bernie Sanders.

–  I have been totally BEWILDERED by a number of things these past few weeks. Perhaps being on the road for almost two weeks allowed my brain to lose some of its synapses.

–  In no particular order – the ‘papers, please’ insanity in Arizona is apparently popular with people over 50 (not me) and curious to younger Americans. That seems clear enough.  Young people are not afraid of people who do not look like them and perhaps, just perhaps, they enjoy the diversity rather than the boring homogeneity.

–  The Tea Party still makes me laugh.  Their unfocused, yet loud rage gets too much attention from the media (just like Sarah Palin).  The targets of their focused rage  seems to be Repugnants who do not fit the bill as Uber-Conservatives.  A few did fine in yesterday’s Primaries, but  the general election in November is far away and much can happen.  Those Independent voters are not as radical as the screaming meemies with tea bags hanging from their hats.  Stay tuned.

–  In a head scratching moment, yesterday’s news included the fact that Bristol Palin is hitting the lecture circuit. Her main topic?  Teen pregnancy. ‘The 19-year-old has signed with a firm called Single Source Speakers and is expected to earn between $15,000 and $30,000 per speaking gig’. Good grief.

Just for fun, check out this armadillo:

Doink Doink May 15, 2010

Posted by judylobo in art, Photography, Videos.
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Ripped from the headlines!  I heard the rumor of the demise of Law & Oder the other day but preferred denial rather than acceptance.  However, when I glanced at the headlines screaming from the Arts section of the New York Times today – I knew it was true.  The original series, Law & Order has been canceled by NBC before it goes into its 21st season.

I am going to miss the show even though it will live on in syndicated reruns for years to come.  I will miss laughing at the fake addresses that usually end up in the East River or the Hudson River.  I will miss seeing if the dates that are flashed on the screen coincide with familiar birthdays.  I will miss all of the murders at Hudson University. I will miss trying to guess what neighborhood which the  episode was filmed.  I will miss seeing my park, my block and even my building in episodes.  Several of my friends have appeared in episodes and that was great fun to see them.

I liked each and every cast – some more than others.  The experience of watching Law & Order was familiar, dependable and comforting.  Watching a rerun allowed me to read the paper or a magazine and not miss anything.

When you go to a Broadway show and read the bios of the actors in the Playbill, almost every actor lists an appearance in Law & Order in their resume.  Oh, NBC, what hath you wrought with this lame decision?

Yes, there will be a spin-off that takes place in Los Angeles, but it will not the same.

There are several blogs devoted to the series.  There is one called All Things Law & Order,  and two friends of mine, Sarah and Tony,  have one called Blawg and Order. You can check them out for amazing detail and trivia.

The only good thing I can think about this decision is now my DVR will be a little bit emptier.  But what will I record? Aurgh.

RIP:

Movie Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop April 22, 2010

Posted by judylobo in art, Links, Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer, Politics, Videos.
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Movie Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Alternate Title: Takin’ it to the Streets

Story: I loved this movie. It was joyous, funny, interesting, had a spirit of anarchy and I am not quite sure if the whole thing wasn’t a hoax. But I was so entertained I don’t care if I was fooled or not. I am still smiling from this film, a day later.

Street art is about free expression – for all. By street art, I am not talking about those horrific tags that are seen on rooftops and become a visual blight upon the landscape. No, the street art I am talking about are real statements – be they political, satirical or simply visually arresting. This movie is all about the daring artists that mostly work in the dark of night, in dangerous conditions to leave their mark for all of us to see. Art as expression, not commodity – or is it?

We get to meet street artists such as Shepard Fairey (who has his own story to tell over his battle with the Associated Press and his Obama HOPE image), Space Invader, Neckface, Swoon, Cheez, Coma and the most famous of them all, Banksy. We meet these deliberately reclusive artists because of one, Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman living in LA. Guetta is obsessed with filming everything. Through his cousin, Space Invader. he meets these artists of the night and begins his obsession of filming them while they create their art. He films and films and films and explains that he will be making a documentary on the subject. The problem is – he does nothing with his video tapes other them throw them in bins for storage.

Banksy requests that Guetta make his film. When Banksy watches Guetta’s 90 minutes of unwatchable clips he turns the tables on Guetta and Banksy decides to make a documentary about Guetta. I will not reveal more of the plot or else some of the fun will be spoiled. But please, give yourself a treat and go see this film. You will laugh, you will question and most of all – it is great fodder for discussion after the film.

Watch footage of 5 street pieces Banksy put up around Park City to tie-in with the premiere of his film “Exit Through the Gift Shop” at the Sundance film festival in Jan 2010. Music is “Tonight the Streets are Ours” by Richard Hawley, which is used to open and close the film.

Acting: It is hard to tell if anyone was acting or not. It was just fun. The always wonderful, Rhys Ifans was the narrator.

Trivia: Check out Banksy‘s website here. Check out Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) here. Check out Shepard Fairey’s work here.   Check out street art here from the Wooster Collective.

Predilection: I like films about art.

Critters: A pink elephant.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: Most of the artists are trying desperately to have their products blatantly presented to the world.

Soundtrack: Terrific.

Visual Art: A visual delight from start to finish.

Theater Audience: About 30 people, mostly men. The ladies room was empty post film, but Sunjit told me the stalls were filled in the men’s room. A rarity for sure. Is street art a testosterone thing?

Weather: Fine weather for street art.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I was riveted throughout.

Predictability Level: I had not a clue where this film was headed.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen.

Length: 90 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 9

Movie Review: Nobody’s Perfect April 20, 2010

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Movie Review: Nobody’s Perfect

Alternate Title: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Story: Those, like me, that are old enough to remember the nightmare of thalidomide in the early 1960’s will definitely appreciate this fine documentary by director Niko von Glasow. Those too young to have experienced the world wide horror of the thousands of deformed babies born (mostly in Europe) should not shy away from the film’s premise. It is engaging, entertaining and by film’s end you will be better off to have gotten to know the dozen or so individuals that are featured. The film was written by Andrew Emerson, Kiki von Glasow and Niko Glasow.

Niko von Glasgow goes in search of 11 other people who, like him, were born disabled due to the side effects of the drug, thalidomide. His idea is that if he can persuade these victims to pose naked for a calendar they will feel better about themselves and in the process educate the onlooker. Through his engaging encounters with other victims we meet people just like you and me. They lead full lives, do not feel sorry for themselves and have amazing senses of humor. The film has dark humor and is laughingly filled with political incorrectness.

The film maker could have gone the route of exposing the German drug maker, Grunenthal, for selling a defective product in the manner of a Michael Moore film. But he chose a different route. Yes, there is a bit of an attempt to dialogue with the drug maker but the film is more interested in investigating the lives of the 12 people that ultimately make it to the calendar.

One of the best movie endings ever – from Some Like it Hot – ‘Nobody’s Perfect:

Acting: This is a documentary so ‘acting’ does not qualify as a category. The featured players are: Fred Dove, Mat Fraser, Stefan Fricke, Sigrid Kwella, Andreas Myeer, Kim Morton, Doris Pakendorf, Sofia Plich, Petra Uttenweiler, Bianca Vogel, Mandel von Glasow, Niko von Glasow, Theo Zavelberg

Trivia: Thalidomide was sold in a number of countries across the world from 1957 until 1961 when it was withdrawn from the market after being found to be a cause of birth defects in what has been called one of the biggest medical tragedies of modern times. Thalidomide is now being used to combat some cancers.

Predilection: I like documentaries.

Critters: A few adorable dogs.

Food: The last scene takes place during a celebratory meal.

Sex Spectrum: Sex is discussed and there is frontal nudity.

Soundtrack: I cannot recall any music.

Opening Titles: All credits are at the end.

Visual Art: The scenes where they shoot the calendar pages are wonderful.

Theater Audience: Eight other people.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: Deformity should measure on the quirky scale but this film was handled so well it does not register.

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine but I always promote seeing it on the big screen (if you can find it).

Length: 85 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 7.5

While Strolling Thru the Park One Day… April 18, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, art, Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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While strolling in the park at 6AM this morning, as Benny the dog performs his morning ritual, I meet a man walking his small beagle.  The man is beaming as if he stumbled upon a pot of gold somewhere in Madison Square Park.  He says to me “My dog just took the biggest crap of his life – I needed two doggie bags to pick it up.” I smile back, not knowing how to respond to this shared bit of information.  All I could come up with (after all it was only 6 in the morning) was “Nice to hear some positive headline news.” We parted ways.

It reminded me of something else that we overheard while at the Bronx Zoo this week.  We were staring at the Canada Goose nest (pictured to the left) when a group of youngish kids and their Moms came our way.  I pointed the nest out to the Moms and they were as fascinated as we were.  The kids did not seem to care.  One Mom said to the most boisterous kid ‘If you do not behave I am going to send you to public school.”  My friend and I looked at one another and cracked up.  Who knew that threatening to send a kid to public school was something that would shut a kid up – very quickly?

– In other threatening news: The percentage of Tea Baggers holding a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush is 57%.  Does anyone really need to know more about this gang of whining, racist thugs?  For the full article about who these people really are, please read the April 15th New York Times article here.

–  In other parts of Crazy Land, hate monger Rush Limbaugh talked about the volcanic eruption that’s affecting air travel over much of Europe, saying it was “God Speaking” in response to the passage of health care.  You can’t make this crap up!

–  Jon Stewart smacks down the wackos over at Fox Noise in a segment called ‘A Farewell to Arms.’ ‘Fox Noise wants you to decide if the Nuclear Security Summit logo looks similar to the flags representing Muslim nations’.

This video just cracks me up every time I watch it:

Are You High? April 15, 2010

Posted by judylobo in art, Photography.
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A few weeks ago I got a call from-my favorite NYPD Detective, Matt.  It was around three in the afternoon and he asked me if one of those sculptures was on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street?  Matt had seen my previous photos of Antony Gormley’s art instalation.  I laughed and told him yes, there was a sculpture on that corner.  The police had just received a call that there was a ‘jumper.’  I told him it was going to be a long, hot summer of false alarms because the installation was going to be up until August 15th.

–  From today’s New York Post (By KEVIN FASICK and LARRY CELONA): Cops rushed urgently to the Empire State Building yesterday on a report of a possible jumper at the notorious suicide magnet — only to discover that the man perched precariously on the ledge was made of solid cast iron.

The life-sized figure was bolted to the iconic building by the boneheaded organizers of the “Event Horizon” art installation, which has infested the city with realistic-looking metal men. They’re placed on dangerous roofs and ledges around Madison Square Park and other Midtown locales — but none in a place so linked to death plunges.

ARE YOU HIGH? Bystanders gaze up and aim cameras yesterday at a “suicide jumper” on the Empire State Building — which turns out to be an art project that has led to false-alarm 911 calls.

Police sources say the scourge has led to daily 911 calls that distract operators from assisting in real emergencies.
“It’s a pain in the ass,” said one officer of the art project. “It’s a waste of manpower. We’re short cops to begin with and we don’t have enough cops to waste answering calls of statues committing suicide.”

The cop’s frustration was shared by dumbfounded Empire State Building staff. They couldn’t figure out why management would allow a statue to be placed on a building so notorious for suicides that some believed it inspired the term “86’d” — because people jump off the 86th-floor observation deck.

Six people have jumped from the building in the last 10 years, and 34 since the building opened in 1931.

The metal man was installed on the ledge as part of artist Antony Gormley’s exhibit in late March — and was in place on March 30 when a Yale graduate student became the latest to jump to his death from the observation deck.

The chilling art project, which was also installed in London in 2007, has had the full support of Mayor Bloomberg, and sources said he has no plans to intervene.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne claimed the department has gotten only 10 calls to 911 about “Event Horizon” — including three to the Empire State Building — though police sources insist they are a daily occurrence.

Yesterday’s scare even fooled a patrol officer who was nearby on foot and rushed over, fearing the worst.

“A new cop on the block ran up to me today and said, ‘You have a jumper on the 24th floor!’ ” said an Empire State Building security guard, who remembers at least five 911 calls being made about the statue.

“I said, ‘No, honey, it’s just a freaking statue.’ ”

Officers in the 13th Precinct and Midtown South have become so used to the calls that they don’t rush to the buildings with the same speed as they would in other neighborhoods, sources said, prompting concern there could be some delay getting aid to a real jumper.

Anthony Malkin, the head of Malkin Properties Crop., the landmark building’s management group, said the company agreed to participate in the exhibit after getting “over a dozen requests from meaningful people in the arts.”

He said, “We thought it would be interesting and fun to participate in this big public art exhibit, but we only did it on the condition that we first check with the NYPD, and that they said it was OK to do.

“My taste in art is very different, but I have to believe the artist is getting the reaction he is looking for. And if the city didn’t like it, they would ask us to take it down,” and “we would take it down immediately,” Malkin said.

“Until then, it’s our intention to leave it up.”

The figures also inspired chaos 11 blocks south on Fifth Avenue yesterday, where cops sped to a false alarm at the Flatiron Building after a 911 caller mistook its rooftop statue for a jumper.

Local cops were warned that the statues — scheduled to remain in place until Aug. 15 — were so lifelike they could cause pedestrian panic.

A tourist from California in Madison Square Park admitted she almost called 911 after spotting one of the figures. “I thought he was real,” said Kimberly Compton. “Why else would a man be up there if he wasn’t going to jump?” – Additional reporting by Kirsten Fleming and Todd Venezia

Here is my photo montage of the installation:

The Great White Ugly March 28, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, art, Dogs and cats, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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– The great white anger of the day is ugly to watch and baffling to those of us who live in diverse communities. Living in NYC is a bit like living near the Tower of Babel.  I hear different languages, see different colors, races and cultures everyday and like to believe I am richer for that privilege. The anger out there is all about fear. The United States these crazies used to know (or believe they knew) is fading into the distance. You think it is a coincidence that these same angry people do not want to fulfill the Constitutional obligation of a Census?  They are afraid the numbers will be even worse than they think.  Nobody says it better than Frank Rich.  Check out his column today for the real reason those very angry white people are hurling invectives and making overt threats.
‘That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.’

– Yesterday President Obama did what many Presidents do (for the record, when Bush did the same thing it made me crazy)- he made recess appointments. He cleared 15 nominees to assume posts that have remained vacant for months due to insurmountable congressional roadblocks. Among the 15 named just days before the Senate departs for Easter recess are Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, the White House’s two, hotly contested nominees for the National Labor Relations Board.  Check out the article from THE HILL for the other names and details.

–  Check out Antony Gormley’s 31 life size sculptures in the Madison Square Park neighborhood through August 15, 2010. It is a great way to enjoy my neighborhood with its rich history and great architecture. See if you can  find all 31 sculptures and you never know – you might catch me and my dog Benny sniffing around.  Yes, that is Benny in the above photo doing his ‘art critic’ thing once again.

–  My latest video features one minute of the fabulous new penguin feeding regimen at the Central Park Zoo. You can see our new King Penguins along with the Gentoo and the Chinstraps. It’s a fish frenzy of fun!