Archive for February 11th, 2009

ca-rr-posterFour San Francisco-based institutions — the California Historical Society; the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society; the San Francisco Public Library; and the Society of California Pioneers — have received a Mellon Foundation grant of nearly $250,000 to help create the California Ephemera Project, a searchable, online catalogue featuring the ephemera of all four collections.

“The collections to be catalogued are comprised of materials that were created to be short-lived or discarded, such as brochures, catalogs, menus, billheads, mining certificates, theater programs, bylaws, political flyers, travel guides, wine labels, and more, but whose content and graphic richness are a historical and cultural resource for researchers. There is overlap in topics between the collections of the four institutions, yet many of the items themselves are unique. Often the only existing documentation for some topics, the material is relevant for research into 19th- and 20th-century California history.”

(via SFPL Online)

(Railroad Poster via California State Railroad Museum)



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Robert Anderson, a playwright whose intimate emotional dramas like ‘Tea and Sympathy’ and ‘I Never Sang for My Father’ attracted big names to the Broadway stage if not always substantial audiences to Broadway theaters, died Monday at home in Manhattan. He was 91. . . .

“Mr. Anderson was a contemporary of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, and though his reputation never ascended to the artistic heights that theirs did — his plays often walked a tightrope between realism and sentimentality — he was among the theater’s most visible, serious playwrights of the 1950s and ’60s.

“‘Tea and Sympathy,’ the story of a sensitive, artistic boy who is ostracized by his prep school classmates as a supposed homosexual but who is befriended — and ultimately sexually initiated — by the housemaster’s wife . . . ends with a scene considered salacious at the time and a famous final line. The housemaster’s wife, after leaving her husband, draws the student into her arms and says, ‘Years from now when you talk of this, and you will, be kind.'”

(via NY Times)

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“The pain caused by Bernard Madoff will be lasting and felt by a great many people. There can be little doubt that the method by which he used his Jewish identity to worm his way into the confidence of many Jewish investors and charities will be among the most memorable aspects of his villainy. But those concerned about the future of American Jewry have far more pressing worries than the money Madoff stole and lost or the ammunition he might have given to anti-Semites. The real question is whether, at a time when resources are growing relatively scarce, the American Jewish community will finally take the full measure of the threat to its long-term survival and husband its straitened resources to address that threat openly, honestly, and effectively.”

(via Commentary)


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cuba-books“Cubans’ passion for literature will again characterize the upcoming 18th International Book Fair Cuba 2009, set for Feb 12 through the 22 here in Havana and then, from Feb 23 through March 8 in other Cuban cities.”

(via Cuba News Headlines)

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savethebrooklynbridge1In a recent editorial, “A Con Grows In B’klyn,” Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, like The Brooklyn Paper before it, voiced its support for the controversial 18-story residential building and public middle school that opponents argue will forever block views of the historic Brooklyn Bridge.  But unlike The Brooklyn Paper, which published a measured, point-by-point rebuttal to critics of the project, Post writer Steve Cuozzo reveled in denouncing what he called the “farcical arguments” and “blatantly bogus claims” of the “cranky opposition.”

Singled out for particular abuse were City Councilman David Yassky, the New York Times, and the organization “Save the Brooklyn Bridge” which Cuozzo accused of printing and distributing misleading and “fake” images of the planned tower.

[The best and most up-to-date chronicling of the DUMBO Dock Street Project, including local opinion (pro and con), can be found at DumboNYC.com.]

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Tenement building, with ghosts of former occupants, in former Jewish Ghetto, Warsaw, Poland, May 2008

(Full photo)


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earthourIt’s been a good news/bad news year so far for Shepard Fairey, the “street artist” who created the iconic image of Barack Obama for the 2008 Presidential Election that recently entered the permanent collection of Presidential portraits in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

First, the good news:

Fairey has been chosen to create the artwork for this year’s “Earth Hour” campaign.

Scheduled for 8:30 PM on March 28th, “The lights out initiative, which began in Sydney in 2007 as a one-city environmental campaign, has evolved into a grassroots action that has captured the attention of the citizens of the world. In 2008, 371 cities across 35 countries turned their lights out in a united call for action on climate change.

Now, with almost two months still remaining before Earth Hour 2009, that number has already been eclipsed, with 377 cities across 74 countries now committed to turning off their lights for one hour.”

Now the bad news:

Last week, on the eve of the opening of a retrospective of his work at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Fairey was arrested in Boston on graffiti-related charges – he is accused of defacing public property by posting stencils of the professional wrestler Andre the Giant and the word “Obey.”


And this past Monday, Fairey filed a lawsuit against The Associated Press – his lawyers are asking a federal judge to shield Fairey from copyright infringement claims in his use of the news photograph as the basis for his poster image of President Obama. “According to the suit, A.P. officials contacted Mr. Fairey’s studio late last month demanding payment for the use of the photo and a portion of any money he makes from it.”



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affluenceorg-logoIn fairness to the members of the Affluence.org community, I want to balance the impression left by my previous post that the organization is nothing more than a social network for rich people snubbing their noses at the poor or middle class.

From the Affluence.org “About Us” page, a description of the network’s membership and philanthropic mission:

“Affluence.org is an exclusive online social network for the affluent and influential aimed at forming a socially conscious, elite, and exclusive community that helps wealthy, influential, and affluent people make life better for both themselves and others. . . .

“Affluence.org conveys a strong sense of philanthropy and social responsibility demonstrated by featuring a detailed charity section where members can direct donations, RSVP to fund raising events, watch videos relating to the cause, or indicate that they support the charity.   Affluence.org also donated 15% of their monthly media, both print and online, to selected charities.”

From the “Promote Your Charities” page:

“All of the Organizations featured on Affluence are registerd 501(c)(3) non-profit. What does that mean? It means the organizations we feature took the time to make sure the IRS and the government know that they are committed to working for change, and are willing to be transparent and responsible for the sincerity of their actions and transactions. In short, they put the money where their cause is.”

Organizations include: Refuge House; Helping Kids in Poverty; NextAid; Charity: Water; Urban Resource Institute; and New Hope for Kids, among others.

[Thanks, Ken]

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