“I know everybody means well, but I resent being called the ‘Original Mad Man.’ The 1960s was a heroic age in the history of art and communication—the audacious movers and shakers of those times bear no resemblance to the cast of characters in Mad Men. This maddening show is nothing more than a soap opera, set in a glamorous office where stylish fools hump their appreciative, coiffed secretaries, suck up martinis, and smoke themselves to death as they produce dumb, lifeless advertising—oblivious to the inspiring Civil Rights movement, the burgeoning Women’s Lib movement, the evil Vietnam War, and other seismic changes during the turbulent, roller-coaster 1960s that altered America forever. So, fuck you Mad Men—you phony, ‘Grey Flannel Suit,’ male-chauvinist, no talent, wasp, white-shirted, racist, anti-semitic, Republican SOBs! Besides, when I was in my 30s I was better looking than Don Draper.”
The dome that crowns Florence’s cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is six centuries old, stands 40 stories high, is made of more than four million bricks, and weighs about the same as a modern cruise ship, but how did the largest masonry dome on earth come to be? NOVA takes on the Renaissance marvel–and its maker, Filippo “Who needs buttresses?” Brunelleschi–in Great Cathedral Mystery, which premieres Wednesday night on PBS.
Biographer and art critic Deborah Solomon stopped by The Colbert Report this week to discuss her latest book, American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), which reveals that the American-as-apple-pie artist wrestled with severe depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. The real scandal, for Colbert, is that Rockwell was not the political conservative that he has been made out to be. Among Solomon’s revelations is that he [gasp!] voted for Kennedy.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Fred Armisen dressed like Beau Brummel and helping people to overcome awkward situations. Don’t be confused by the period dress or 1990s-Canadian-sitcom-level production values, this modern-day superhero is Ambiance Man, a new series created by artist Alix Lambert for MOCAtv, the YouTube channel of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
“Ambiance Man is a series about a superhero who fixes what we really need fixed in our day-to-day lives,” says Lambert, who previously teamed with MOCAtv—and Sam Chou of Toronto’s Style5—for CRIME: The Animated Series. “While most superheroes are focused on preventing the end of the world, Ambiance Man is focused on transforming the moments that feel like the end of the world.” The 13-episode series also features Jack Black, Jibz Cameron, Peter Macon, and Atsuko Okatsuka.
Martha Stewart was joined by Bravo’s Andy Cohen last night to kick off the second annual American Made, a two-day celebration of ingenuity and craftsmanship that turns Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall into a lively marketplace of handpicked purveyors, crafters, and makers. Among this year’s American Made honorees are lighting designer Lindsey Adelman, Shinola’s Health Carr, and paper crafters Leo Kowal and Mary Rudakas, who took home the audience choice award for their SVGCuts creations. And for Stewart, that’s not even the icing on the cake—she’s got a new book out (about cakes!), an equally delicious PBS TV series in production (more cakes!), and big Halloween plans (Pumpkin Layer Cake…and much more!). We paused in our attempt at her Clementine-Vanilla Bean Loaf Cake to ask her seven questions.
What are some of your favorite finds among the nominees and winners of this year’s American Made awards?
The two-day event celebrates the spirit of innovation and spotlight a new generation of entrepreneurs. Everything we highlight with the American Made program, which is now in its second year, is something I’ve found in my various travels and meetings to be fascinating, unique, and worthy of recognition. This year, I have my eye on Back to the Roots, which is a ‘grow your own mushroom kit’ company out of Oakland, California, as well as Spoonflower, a custom fabric printing company in Durham, North Carolina.
Which recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cakes would you suggest for an amateur baker who wants to whip up a tasty and visually stunning cake?
The buttermilk cake with chocolate frosting is a great starting point for any amateur. It’s both visually stunning and tasteful. This book also provides a basics section specifically designed for amateurs who are looking to sharpen their baking skills. It provides essential equipment and ingredients for mixing, baking, and finishing!
Any tricks you can share about making a cake look as good as the amazingly beautiful ones featured in the pages of Martha Stewart’s Cakes?
Pairing cakes with accompaniments can be the finishing touch to a baker’s creation. They are served on the side adding richness, to simple cakes.
“You have to have nerves of steel in both industries [dance and fashion]. The drive, the focus as a dancer, the fact that your foot is split halfway open and bleeding halfway through a dance that’s two hours long makes no difference—you have to perform. Curtain up. And that is the same thing, every day, in the fashion industry. You have to produce. You can’t wait for the muse to fly out of the sky, and suddenly you design.
The time frame [on Project Runway] is so real. I thought, Okay, they say 30 minutes at Mood, but maybe you get a little extra time? No. It’s down to the second. You have 30 minutes to sketch, and then your sketchbooks go away. A one-day challenge is really a one-day challenge. I thought there was a little extra wiggle room here and there, but there really isn’t, and to make garments in a day that you are proud of is so difficult. You have no patterns, no textbooks, nothing. It was so frightening and thrilling and so exciting and completely exhausting.”
New York Fashion Week is once again upon us and kicking things into high gear tomorrow at Lincoln Center is the Couture Council luncheon. The wildly popular event, which is looking to best last year’s $1 million haul to benefit the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, will honor Michael Kors with the Couture Council award for Artistry of Fashion. Past recipients include Ralph Rucci, Karl Lagerfeld, and Oscar de la Renta.
“Michael Kors has been nominated repeatedly by members of the Couture Council Advisory Committee,” said Museum at FIT director Valerie Steele, referring to the group of journalists, retailers, and curators that includes Glenda Bailey, Hamish Bowles, Ken Downing, and Linda Fargo. “The committee’s mandate is to not only look at the previous year’s accomplishments, but at a lifetime of contributions to fashion.”
A still from Detropia.
God save Detroit. In 1930, it was the fastest growing city in the world. Today a governor-appointed emergency manager is eyeing the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts as a way to pay off some $15 billion in debt (the prospect of selling off the DIA’s masterpieces has, of course, been met with outrage from within the community and beyond). Get a closer look at the long-stalled Motor City in Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady‘s Detropia, which makes its television debut tonight on Independent Lens (click here to check your local PBS listings). No postindustrial gloomfest, the documentary follows several Detroiters–including an owner of a blues bar, an auto union rep, a group of young artists, and a gang of illegal “scrappers”–in an attempt to illuminate both a city and a country grasping for a new identity. Say Ewing and Grady, “We hope that the rest of America can see that they may have more in common with Detroit than they thought.”
Watch French street artist JR get his TED Prize wish for a global art project in Inside Out, a fresh-from-the-Tribeca-Film-Festival documentary that debuts tonight at 9 p.m. on HBO. Director Alastair Siddons (Turn it Loose) crisscrosses the globe–from Tunisia to Haiti, North Dakota to Pakistan–as people around the world come together to follow JR’s simple directions to “take a portrait photograph of yourself or someone you know and then paste it in the street, using it to stand up for something you care about.” More than 100,000 people responded to his call by uploading their portraits to the project’s website for JR to print and display around the world. Explains Siddons, “This is a film about an artist giving away his method and the inspiring stories that follow that.” Sample a few in the film’s trailer (below):
What are the most influential buildings in America? Jot down a top ten list and then compare your picks with the structures that get their close-ups in 10 Buildings That Changed America, a special that premieres Sunday night on PBS. Host Geoffrey Baer criscrosses the country on a journey that spans two centuries of architectural innovation, from Thomas Jefferson‘s neoclassical Virginia State Capitol to the swooping stainless steel forms of Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. In an interview with Baer, Frank Gehry reveals the secret behind the profusion of brass handrails in the concert hall and describes winning the 1988 design competition as “the least-likeliest thing that I thought would ever happen to me in my life.” New York is represented by the Seagram Building, which comes in at #7 and with insights from Phyllis Lambert, although three other Gotham landmarks–the Woolworth Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Guggenheim–made the extended list (“ten more buildings that changed America“) posted on the program’s website, where you can watch the individual segments along with web-exclusive additional footage.
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