In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Cherettes -- Postered, Painted and Pasteled
  2. Pauline Turns 90
  3. A Searle Semi-Sighting
  4. Visual Arts Linkage
  5. Stained Glass Windows, Old and New
  6. What's Up With the Left?
  7. Political Linkage
  8. Blogging Note
  9. Eroticism Linkage
  10. Ukelele Ramones

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cherettes -- Postered, Painted and Pasteled
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- For the past century or thereabouts, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has been the Parisian poster artist most remembered by the public at large and most art followers as well. Poster art fans won't deny Lautrec's place in that field any more than they would that of Art Nouveau master Alphonse Mucha. But they'll likely make the point that they guy who really invented the modern poster was Jules Chéret (1836-1932). He's the tall fellow in the doctored photo above (the original was monochrome, of course, but someone tipped in a color rendition of the Chéret poster in the original, and that's what seems to be at the top of Google image searches). The little man is you-know-who. The Wikipedia biography of Chéret is here. Another site you might want to visit is here. As the linked biographical material indicates, Chéret's posters featured lively girls who became popularly known as "Cherettes". If you happen to view a large number of Cherette posters (and Chéret turned out hundreds of them), they become somewhat monotonous. But that's often the case of you see a collection of any artist's work in a gallery, museum or book. Artists have this strange tendency to create lots of what sells, after all. Besides, posters and paintings are usually intended to be seen in isolation and not as part of a collection. Another consideration about Chéret is that, while advances in lithographic technology made his posters possible in the first place, the results seem crude by today's standards. So just how good might his poster art have been absent technological limitations? Really good. I discovered that while visiting the Musée des Beaux Arts in Nice (its title sometimes includes the words "Jules Chéret" following the main name). Its web site is here; only the French sub-link seems to work, and no works are shown. It seems that Chéret did a lot of pastel work that included studies for posters, and these can be found amongst the displays in a room the museum devotes to him. Also included are some oils and pastel portraits. Not a lot of this can be found on the Web, but I snitched a few to illustrate what I just mentioned. Gallery Let's start with a poster to set the stage and get you in the proper mood. It's for the Folies Bergère featuring one of its stars and not an anonymous Cherette. This is a poster version of a work titled "La Musique" ... ... and this is a pastel version, probably a study for the former. In person it has depth and a vibrancy the poster lacks -- though this distinction isn't so easy to make when viewing digital images as you are now. Yes, it features a Cherette. Here is another pastel. It doesn't seem to be a poster study, but I might be wrong about that. Here is a pastel portrait of Arlette Dorgère (1904). My museum book on Chéret indicates that she "inspira pleusiers... posted by Donald at June 13, 2009 | perma-link | (3) comments

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pauline Turns 90
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- I just noticed that, if she were still alive (she died in 2001), the movie critic Pauline Kael would be turning 90 in a week. She was quite a cultural figure once. Here's an interview with her from the late 1980s; here's one of her best essays, a long profile of Cary Grant. Charlton Griffin points out that Wikipedia's entry on Pauline (everybody thought of her as "Pauline") is awfully good. I hear that Brian Kellow -- a biographer and an editor at Opera News -- is preparing a biography. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at June 12, 2009 | perma-link | (34) comments

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Searle Semi-Sighting
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- Readers "of a certain age" might well recall the art of British cartoonist/illustrator/writer Ronald Searle (1920-). He was especially prolific during the 1950s and 60s. Influential, too: cartoonists active today have borrowed his way of exaggerating facial and body features. He is perhaps best known as the creator of the St. Trinian's School books that became the subject of comedy films. The girls in that school were nasty, but not nearly as bad as the Japanese guards Searle had to deal with after Singapore surrendered and he and fellow soldiers were shipped north to work on River Kwai type projects. I was a big fan of his and was both startled and pleased to notice the framed, autographed print in the lobby of our Paris hotel (the Fleury, wonderfully situated about halfway between the boul' Miche and the rue Bonaparte on the Left Bank). Searle has lived in the South of France since 1961 and apparently likes the Fleury when he's in Paris. Later, Donald... posted by Donald at June 11, 2009 | perma-link | (3) comments

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Visual Arts Linkage
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- * Anarchist and novelist Stewart Home -- I liked his crazy book "Blow Job" -- wonders how long London's Tate Museum (CORRECTION: thanks to dearieme for pointing out that I should have written "London's Tate Modern Museum") is going to last. Funny line: "The art world is part and parcel of the financial world. When high finance catches a cold, local art scenes react as if they’ve got the plague." * "Della Robbia blue" is one of those terms you'll hear in and around the visual arts. Learn a lot about the Renaissance-era, terra-cotta-sculpture-making Della Robbia dynasty in this good article by Roderick Conway Morris. (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin) * Jonathan Glancey praises the Starship Enterprise as a piece of visual design. * Hard not to love a collection of amazing photos of animals. * All in a day's work for a mountain goat. (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin) * David Pogue takes part in one of those Improv Everywhere events. * 78 photography mistakes you should try to avoid making. A very droll -- and useful -- visual posting. * MBlowhard Rewind: I mused briefly about symmetry and beauty. Best, Michael UPDATE: Roissy reacts to a D.C. art show.... posted by Michael at June 10, 2009 | perma-link | (3) comments

Stained Glass Windows, Old and New
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- I'm afraid I seldom pay much attention to stained glass windows in cathedrals and churches. But I did when we stepped into the Église Saint-Séverin located in Paris' Latin Quarter. As this Wikipedia entry indicates, the church has traditional windows along with some new ones created by Jean René Bazaine (1904-2001) who, according to the link, did a good deal of work of that kind. One of his Saint-Séverin windows (in an image I grabbed off the Web) is shown below. Since I don't feel qualified to evaluate Bazaine's windows on their own terms, I'll simply mention that they struck me as bland and washed-out looking compared to the traditional windows in the same setting. Later, Donald... posted by Donald at June 10, 2009 | perma-link | (6) comments

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What's Up With the Left?
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- * Why has the Euro left been doing so badly with the Euro working class lately? Not to give too much away, but ... Some of it's down to i-m-m-i-g-r-a-t-i-o-n. * Dean Baker thinks that the U.S. needs a healthy manufacturing sector. * Michael Hastings wonders why the left isn't more upset about Obama's war plans. * Is it time for anarchists to cut themselves off from the left? Jason McQuinn thinks so. Nice passage: If we want to avoid being taken down with the wreckage of leftism as it crumbles, we need to fully, consciously and explicitly dissociate ourselves from its manifold failures—and especially from the invalid presuppositions of leftism which led to these failures. Best, Michael UPDATE: The Kvetcher wonders why more people aren't asking why the BNP did as well as it did.... posted by Michael at June 9, 2009 | perma-link | (18) comments

Political Linkage
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- * Does it now make more sense to rent rather than buy? * Her car needs work, so Awake in Rochester has been taking the bus lately. She isn't very happy about it. * Why has train travel in the U.S. gotten slower? * Ramesh gives the local-currency thing some thought. * This colorful guy thinks it's only getting worse. (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin) * There's a lot to chew on in this brief Lew Rockwell posting about the Fed. * A great line from Jack Hunter: "American secession is no more crazy than American socialism." * Dennis Mangan takes stock of how our shadow government -- namely Goldman Sachs -- is faring under Obama. * MBlowhard Rewind: Should Turkey be welcomed into the European Union? I bounced off that question to wonder about a Gaspar Noe film and a Bertrand Blier film. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at June 9, 2009 | perma-link | (7) comments

Blogging Note
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- I'm back from a three-week trip to France. My recent articles were written before I left and Michael was kind enough to post them while I was away. Now I have to work my way out of the memory-wipeout phenomenon associated with longer trips along with some jet lag while collecting whatever wits I had before I left. Be warned that I'll be downloading travel pix from my trusty little Nikon. The nature of blogging dictates maintaining content flow, and that flow is usually generated by what the poor, content-obsessed blogger happens to encounter in real life, the news, or other material on the Web. So you'll be seeing a fair amount of France-related stuff from me for the next few weeks. Later, Donald... posted by Donald at June 9, 2009 | perma-link | (3) comments

Monday, June 8, 2009

Eroticism Linkage
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- * Tony and Peggy Comstock (of the very interesting alt-porn company Comstock Films) have started a new blog/community on the theme of: What to do when you take your digital camera into the bedroom. * Broken penises, yikes. * Escort Missy writes about her clients' "other women" -- ie., their wives. * Lacey Steven's real-estate business was tanking, so she changed fields. * Kimberly lists 10 things she wishes she'd done during her years as a stripper. * New England-bred Polly-Vous Francais finds herself immersed in France's culture of flirtation -- and liking it. * MBlowhard Rewind: I offered a tribute to that great archetype, the Frenchwoman. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at June 8, 2009 | perma-link | (15) comments

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ukelele Ramones
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- Scottish jokester-musicians Gus and Fin deliver some rousing, even kickass, Ramones covers: Vaguely related: I raved about another great punk band, Gang of Four. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at June 7, 2009 | perma-link | (1) comments

What We've Come To ...
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- I wonder if we're entering into a great era for political satire. Link thanks to Charlton Griffin. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at June 7, 2009 | perma-link | (9) comments

Impolite Drivers and the Cars They Drive
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- There are drivers who think they own the whole road. You've seen 'em, I've seen 'em. I'm wondering if there are any patterns related to that selfish, impolite behavior. There might be associations to geography, age, sex, condition of the automobile -- those sorts of things. But the one I'm interesting in right now is the make of car those people are driving. My politically liberal sister, ostensibly inclined to be a Volvo customer, won't go near the things. That's because she thinks many Volvo drivers are, well, selfish and impolite. Back in the 1950s and early 60s I had that the same impression regarding Cadillac drivers. No, not all Caddie drivers were piggish, but the piggish drivers I noticed tended to be behind the wheel of a Cadillac. Today? I don't notice a strong pattern. [Thinks] Well, just maybe Mercedes and BMW drivers under age 65 might fill the bill. Obviously it's trash-time here at 2Blowhards, so let's hear of your candidates. Later, Donald... posted by Donald at June 7, 2009 | perma-link | (25) comments