Friday, December 31, 2010

Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray’s “Do the Dance” is a late painting, made in 2005 after she had received the diagnosis of the brain cancer that would kill her two years hence, at 66.

The Craigslist Killer

Among the Buzzfeed yellow badges for stories that qualify as "trashy," "cute," or "WTF" are ones that are "killer" -- featuring the tiny face of actor Jake McDorman in his role as Markoff for the forthcoming Lifetime TV movie. "Killer," by the way, in this case doesn't mean actual snuffing out of life. It designates those things Buzzfeed recognizes as unusually baroque, like what the world's fattest woman ate for Christmas dinner. Buzzfeed's aggressive, sociopath-themed partnership with Lifetime's movie about an Internet-fueled crime is on many levels a natural. The site is a daily addiction for the kind of Net culture geeks who don't need anybody to explain Craigslist and its "adult services" history to them, who probably followed the story of the brutal murder of Julissa Brisman in 2009 through the suicide of her killer, Markoff, in a prison cell last August. That just doesn't make any of it especially good for the soul. To be fair, much of the awfulness of the promotional enterprise belongs to Lifetime, a place which, if not for the phrase "based on a true story," would be little more than a collection of "Desperate Housewives" reruns. Its "Craigslist Killer" movie Web page is an exploitation bonanza, featuring a bloodstained delete key and links to "enter to win" a "Date with Death" book or look at "true crime photos" illuminating the story. Sure, let's take a gander at Brisman's grieving mother, or the funeral home where her funeral was held, right above the caption describing her as "a woman who had advertised her massage services on Craigslist." And then I'll just go shower my brain. - MARY ELIZABETH WILLIAMS

Prince Janelle Monae and Cyndi Lauper

Royal Ring

It's hard to tell what's the bigger fake -- the $20 Princess Diana ring or the company hawking it. An outfit called "the British Historic Society" recently began urging Windsor nuts wanting to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton to snap up a replica of his mom's famous sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring. The $19.90 "Royal Heirloom" finger bling -- a "timeless collector's masterpiece" -- was touted this week in cheesy infomercials, replete with video of Buckingham Palace and members of the royal family, on NY1 and via The ads feature a pitchman with a hoity-toity British accent who says the faux sapphire ring is being offered by the distinguished-sounding society. But no such group exists -- except in US trademark papers filed by New Jersey-based marketer Telebrands Corp. The "As Seen on TV" conglomerate filed to trademark both the "British Historic Society" and "British Historical Society" on Nov. 23, a week after William and Middleton announced their engagement. - JEANE MacINTOSH and EMILY SMITH

Fist Fig

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —;
It gives a lovely light!

-Edna St.Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Gabriele Münter

Florine Stettheimer

Marcel Duchamp, 1923The thoroughly modern Florine Stettheimer is a greater artist than Georgia O’Keeffe. - Roberta Smith

Thursday, December 30, 2010

“letting people have your paintings is like letting them wear your clothes.” - Florine Stettheimer

The Ivory Queen of Soul

LOS ANGELES - Investigators say an autopsy on R&B singer Teena Marie revealed no signs of trauma, but it likely will be weeks before a cause of death will be determined. - AP
John & Jett Travolta
Zac Efron
Rumer Willis
Stella Schnabel

Alan Wong's HONOLULU

President Barack Obama hit the town in Honolulu Wednesday night for a leisurely dinner with friends and family at one of his favorite island restaurants. Onlookers waited patiently outside Alan Wong's Restaurant for three hours, hoping to catch a glimpse of the president, the first lady and the rest of their party. The award-winning eatery is in the same neighborhood where Obama grew up, and the president's motorcade passed the Honolulu apartment where he once lived with his late grandmother and the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop where he worked as a teenager. Wong is a favorite of the Obamas. They've dined at his flagship restaurant here several times, including last December, and also invited Wong to cater a luau at the White House. - JULIE PACE

Sherri Williams - Drive-through adult novelties for sale

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Gabrielle Silva takes down a customer's order from the drive-thru window, stuffs a bag full of products and passes it outside to the couple waiting in a car. In this technology-savvy north Alabama city, visitors won't just find burgers and prescriptions at the drive-thru window. A "romance" store called Pleasures offers a rare convenience not only for these parts but nationally: a drive-through with adult novelties for sale. Business is brisk so far, with cars sometimes lining up three deep for vibrators, lubricants, lingerie and butt plugs. "It's been doing well, and really well on nights when it's cold or rainy," said employee Jackie Kennedy. "Discretion and the ease of it are big, and convenience. We're Americans. We like everything convenient." Even sex toys, as much as elected officials in Alabama have tried to prevent them from being sold in the conservative, Bible Belt state. Pleasures is owned by Florida businesswoman Sherri Williams, who fought the state for almost a decade over what's considered by free-speech advocates to be one of the nation's toughest anti-obscenity laws. Among other things, the 1998 law banned the sale of products intended for sexual stimulation. - JAY REEVES

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The first pill designed to curb a person’s urge to have more than a few drinks at a sitting is undergoing tests in Europe, promising doctors and public-health authorities a new approach to fighting alcoholism. The drug, nalmefene from H. Lundbeck A/S in Valby, Denmark, blocks brain signals that make activities such as sex and drinking feel good. Should trials succeed, the medicine may win clearance in Europe as early as 2012, becoming the first new alcoholism treatment approved there in more than 15 years. While the drugs now sold are used to prevent relapses after people quit drinking, nalmefene is aimed at reducing consumption without the abstinence that Alcoholics Anonymous and other treatment programs say is necessary. This less-strict approach may drive more abusers to seek treatment for the first time, said Adron Harris, director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Waggoner Center for Alcohol & Addiction Research. “A major problem among alcohol abusers is that many are not interested in seeking treatment, perhaps because they do not want to accept the goal of complete abstinence,” Harris said. The drug’s effects may prove greater on public health than on Lundbeck. Peter Welford, a London-based analyst at Jefferies International Ltd., said nalmefene may have peak sales for alcohol dependence of about $60 million a year, in 2018. That’s equivalent to a fraction of the $2.57 billion in total revenue for the company last year. Welford’s estimate was held down by uncertainty over what price Lundbeck could demand and whether health-care providers would embrace a drug-based approach to treatment, he said. ‘Gold Mine’ “The market remains an untapped gold mine,” said Welford, who recommends buying Lundbeck shares. - Bloomberg

Damien Hirst’s baby skull

An infant's skull cast in platinum and pavé set with pink and white diamonds.It will form the centrepiece of Gagosian's inaugural exhibition, “Forgotten Promises”, at its new Hong Kong space (18 January-19 March). Science Ltd, Hirst's main art-producing company, declined to comment on the price for the new work, so the question remains whether—since the baby's skull is smaller than the original sculpture—the price tag has shrunk, too. - The Art Newspaper

Marina Abramovic, Cover Girl.

The Serbian artist, who's had a doozy of a year, graces the cover of the January 2011 issue of her native country's edition of Elle magazine. Shot by Dusan Reljin, the artist is noticably present in a fabulous red garment and a hat. -ARTINFO

Annette Miller Bongiorno

Annette Bongiorno, the Ponzi king's loyal assistant of 40 years, chose jail over helping the feds get hold of the $14 million they accuse her of stealing as part of Madoff's shady operation. Annette Bongiorno, the 62-year-old longtime confidante of Bernard Madoff, is trading country-club living for a cell rather than help federal prosecutors recover millions of dollars they say she stole. The Ponzi king's executive assistant of 40 years, escorted by her husband Rudy, surrendered to U.S. marshals in Florida Tuesday, even as the couple angered authorities by playing hide-and-seek with their alleged Madoff millions. - Allan Dodds Frank

Blizzard 2010

“Morning in the Village After Snowstorm” (1912) - MalevichGetty Images Pedestrians search for paths through snowdrifts in the East Village Tuesday after a storm dumped 20 inches on New York City. - NY Post

Obama Hawaii Vacation 2010: First Family Goes Snorkeling, President Improves His Golf Swing

Since arriving before Christmas, the first family has spent the majority of their vacation at their rental house, venturing out mainly for workouts, church, to visit a Marine Base on Christmas Day, to enjoy shave ice, and of course golf. And that's exactly what the president did on Tuesday. But not before a little snorkeling with the family. The pool reports that the Obamas, along with unidentified friends and their children, arrived at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve at 11:07 AM, but no photos or further reports were allowed. The park had been closed off and the family remained there for two hours. The park is normally closed on Tuesdays to keep the number of visitors down, and the reef from getting trampled. After the nautical excursion, the president hit the links at Mid Pacific Country Club with Bobby Titcomb, Mike Ramos [both friends of the president from Hawaii], Eric Whitaker and Marty Nesbitt. He remained for 12 holes and was overheard telling Nesbitt "Your putting's on fire." Mark Sousa, a golf pro at the club, observed that Obama's "swing looks a lot better this year.'' - Huffington Post

Will Don't Ask Don't Tell's Repeal Mend Obama's Rift With LGBT Leaders?

With the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell," President Obama is well on his way to fulfilling his campaign promises to the LGBT community. But some activists still question his commitment. - The Root

Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John

Sir Elton John and David Furnish have become parents to son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, the couple tells exclusively. The baby boy, who was born Dec. 25 in California via a surrogate, weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. A rep for the couple has stated that they intend to protect and respect the privacy of their surrogate, and will not be discussing any details relating to the surrogacy arrangements. - US

Saint Joseph/Christ the King

An intuitive 6 limbed creature with 2 human nurturers that don't really need any tax deductions.

Five teens found dead in a Florida motel room

Five teens were found dead in a Florida hotel room yesterday, after apparently accidentally poisoning themselves with carbon monoxide. Juchen Martial and his friends had rented the $62 motel room Sunday night to celebrate his birthday. But they left their car running, parked below their hotel room. The fumes from its exhaust drifted up and in through their slightly open door. The car, a borrowed red Kia Optima, was still running when the hotel maid found their bodies at 2pm yesterday. “They thought the car wouldn’t start. That’s the reason it happened,” one of their friends tells the Miami Herald. - NEWSER

The Suitcase Killer

A suspected East Harlem killer who stuffed his victim in a suitcase confessed to bashing her over the head with a pan and strangling her with a cord -- but only after she first attacked him, prosecutors said yesterday. Hassan Malik, 55, told cops he paid victim Betty Williams, 28, for sex and then fought with her after he caught her trying to steal his money, according to police sources. The suspect said Williams "struck him with a frying pan twice on his shoulder," so he grabbed the pan from her and used it to crack her twice on the head, the court papers claim. After being hit, Malik claimed Williams managed to grab an electrical cord and wrap it around his neck, but he wrested it away and choked her. Shortly after she passed out, Malik told cops, he discovered she was dead. According to the complaint, the suspect admitted to stuffing her body into a suitcase and then abandoning it on East 114th Street near First Avenue. Williams -- who had 14 arrests and, police said, a history of prostitution -- was found clothed in the luggage last Wednesday by a passer-by. - NY Post

Stranded Moscow Travelers Riot

This may trumps all the complaints coming from the Northeast: Moscow travelers at the city’s two major airports rioted Tuesday after a massive storm caused four days of delays. The RIA Novosti news agency said Aeroflot attendants and officials were attacked at Sheremetyevo International Airport, and Agence France-Presse reported hundreds of people attempting to break past passport control at Domodedovo Airport. President Dmitry Medvedev has called for an investigation into airport operations after the ice storm that stranded 20,000 travelers at the two airports. Some passengers at Sheremetyevo said they bribed personnel to retrieve luggage and others said they planned to sue for holiday pain and suffering. - DBeast

Buy LeRoy's Postcard

only $85 dollars

The discomfort of "Ordinary Madness" starts when you near the top of the Carnegie Museum of Art staircase and lock eyes with Vito Acconci. Not the seminal video and performance artist himself, but his image, pressed against the front of a floor-level monitor, trying his best to seduce you. "The artwork is looking at you," said Dan Byers, museum associate curator of contemporary art. "The perfect invitation -- it's so creepy." - Mary Thomas

Read more:

Salvador Dali

Daddy Longlegs of the Evening ~ HOPE! 1940 was the first painting Dali made when he arrived in America for the first time.
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1959)