Monday, August 29, 2011

New York City's "Mosaic Man"

Image of Jim Power by David Shankbone, circa 2009.
...

Jim Power has been called New York City's "Mosaic Man" for many years, and it's not hard to see why. Jim is on a mission to cover as many New York City lamp posts, benches, building façades, plant holders, and other structures with the recycled ceramic materials he uses in his creations.

Jim received permission from New York City’s Department of Transport over 20 years ago to decorate up to 80 lamp posts. Once he was bitten by the mosaicing bug, however, there was no turning back. Now businesses or landlords also commission Jim to complete works on their property.

Now in his 60s, Power has been transforming New York’s streets with his unique works that in turn honor the city and the people who call it home. Check out this short video now…


Filmed, Edited, Produced & Written by Sahar Sarshar
Music by Wild Yaks
Narrated by Arian Boroumand

Jim Power Online…
Jim Power on Twitter: @MosaicManNYC
Read an online article by Abby Luby at The Villager.Com…

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adelaide Festival Centre: OzAsia Festival

The Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival was established in 2007 and is held annually in September/ October (according to the lunar calendar) for approximately ten days.

The OzAsia Festival presents work by Australian artists that identify with an Asian heritage, stages collaborative work between Australian and Asian artists, and presents a cross section of traditional and contemporary cultures of Asia. The OzAsia Festival has a broad cultural reach and includes theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts, food and design culture.

In 2011 the Moon Lantern Festival will be held on Monday 12 September in Elder Park.
When: Sepember 2 - September 17, 2011
Where: Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Entry: Free
More info: http://www.ozasiafestival.com.au/

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fotos – Rockefeller Center

The GE Building towers into a perfect New York sky
One of the highlights of my 2008 visit to New York City was a trip to the ‘Top of The Rock’ – or if you prefer, the viewing deck of the Rockefeller Center located in midtown Manhattan.

The Rockefeller Center is in fact a complex of 19 major buildings, the largest of which is the GE Building. Directly in front of this building is a large sunken outdoor plaza which doubles as an ice skating rink in winter and restaurant during the summer months.
Paul Manship sculptures, Youth and Maiden
Stunning works of art (like the two shown above), are what help to make the Rockefeller Center a location worth visiting in its own right, rather than simply a place to get a birds-eye view of Manhattan. So much great art is located around the complex that books have been written about the collection (see links below).

Michael Hammers 2008 Installation: Electric Fountain

With the loss of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building can lay claim to being the highest building in New York City, although this will change once the new tower is completed on the site of the WTC. While it is tempting to visit the ESB rather than the Rockefeller Center building, I preferred the Top of The Rock if only because one can get great views (and photographs) of the Empire State Building which is near by.

Top of The Rock view of Manhattan skyline and Central Park

Getting There:
The nearest subway station is the 47-50th St - Rockefeller Ctr. Station which can be reached by the B, D, F, and M trains (more info: http://www.mta.info/).

Tickets:
  • Adult $34.00
  • Child (6-12) $28.00
  • Senior (62+) $32.00
  • Sun & Stars Ticket: Adult $63.00
  • Sun & Stars Ticket: Child $43.00
  • Note: Sun & Stars tickets allow guests to visit twice in one day.
  • A range of add-on's and combo tickets are also available.

POST UPDATED MARCH 11, 2017
NOTE: The above ticket prices were correct as of March 11, 2017.
For up to date ticket prices, and to pre-purchase tickets to the Rockefeller Center click here... 

-o0o-

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Arteries of New York City

Check out this short film produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films during the 1940s.
The film shows transportation corridors into and out of New York City, using animated diagrams indicating directions of flow for trains, ferries, highways, tunnels, subways, buses, etc. It provides a unique view, not just of transportation in 1940s New York, but some great aerial footage of the Big Apple before the start of the post-war rise of the modern skyscraper.

There are also scenes of a very crowded Coney Island boardwalk, apartment houses and suburbs, Times Square, the 34th Street subway, Grand Central station, New Jersey ferry boat commuters, The Brooklyn Bridge and much more. You even get a glimpse of the many wharves that once jutted out into the Hudson River from lower Manhattan.

The file on Archive.Org gives the date of its production as 1941, but as some of the comments from other viewers of this clip point out, some images featuring a rocket and jet fighter as well as vehicles that were produced after 1941, can also be seen in the film.

Enjoy.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Fotos – London May Day

...
Ah, those were the days. I remember them well, or at least as well as my aging memory is able to recall after more than 30 years.

Back, way back, when I was in my 20s living in London during the 1970s, it seemed as if there was a demonstration taking place there every weekend, and I’m sure I attended most of them. There were liberation struggles in Africa to support; anti-racist protests against home-grown nationalists; support for the burgeoning women’s movement, and of course the struggle to unite Northern Ireland with the rest of that troubled country.

...
The series of images captured here were taken around London’s Trafalgar Square in the aftermath of the May Day march that ended there in 2008. To be honest, I had completely forgotten the anniversary, and just happened upon the event as the final speeches were taking place and the crowd was dispersing.

...
May Day (celebrated on May 1) is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night (after Saint Walpurga, an English missionary to the Frankish Empire who was canonized on 1 May ca. 870 by Pope Adrian II).

Since the end of the nineteenth century, May Day has also become synonymous with International Workers' Day, or Labour Day, and the annual anniversary is often used as a day of political protest.

...
Now this is more like it! Forget the KISS principle, let’s combine a series of slogans on one placard to maximise the message.

-o0o-

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Luminous New York City

Empire State Building, 2008. By Joergen Geerds.
The photo above is just one of the many stunning photographs taken by German born photographer Joergen Geerds. Joergen now lives in New York City, and is carving out a photographic niche for himself by specialising in panoramic night images of the Big Apple. His website, Luminous New York —Lumin-o-City contains dozens of these images, each of which is available for purchase via the 532 Gallery at 532 W 25th Street, New York, NY.

The images all come in large formats. For example the dimensions for the above image of the Empire State Building in 2008 are 120x72 inches (304x182cm), and are mounted against UV non-glare plexi glass with a rigid backing to keep them from distorting. Prints can be ordered online via the 532 Gallery website.

Joergen Geerds studied photography and design in Würzburg, Germany, before moving to New York in 2000, where he worked for several years as an art director in the advertising world. Inspired by the grandeur and grime of New York City, Joergen branched into panoramic photography in 2006.

To quote from his website: During this time, he refined his love of wide-angle photography and ventured into the world of panoramas. He found the un-cropped cityscapes that his flattened, 360-degree photos revealed were unique in the market. This led him to develop his own distinct style—large-scale, hyper-wide night panoramas of New York City.

Joergen documents his ongoing panorama work on his blog at New York Panorama, and his dedicated fine art photography can be found at Luminous New York.

Thanks to the Thumb Press website for bringing Joergen’s images to my attention.

-o0o-

Monday, August 15, 2011

Listen To Your Inner Adventurer

One of the things about travel that I find to be a constant challenge is getting out of my comfort zone. At the age of 62, and officially a ‘senior’ – a term I use as little as possible, by the way – I am becoming very conscious of my growing limitations.

Limitations such as falling levels of fitness, a growing list of aches and pains, and the need to rest more, drink less, get to bed earlier and sleep in longer! Limitations that I try to ignore, confront and test as much as possible. So in keeping with today’s theme: Listen to your inner adventurer, here are some of the ways I have found to push back against my own fears, limits and insecurities.


Make Your Own Travel Arrangements
While it may not always be possible to organize every aspect of your own travel itinerary, it doesn’t hurt to do as much of it yourself as you can.

Last year I undertook a long, slow round the world trip that lasted a full eight months. The only aspect of the trip I didn’t book myself was the airline ticket. All other travel arrangements, from insurance, accommodations, sightseeing, additional air and bus travel within countries and across continents, I organized myself.

As a solo traveler, taking responsibility for my own travel arrangements has given me the confidence to plan and undertake future journeys, secure in the knowledge that I have already displayed the skills, resources, self-reliance and self-belief to take care of myself under most circumstances.

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of undertaking an eight month journey, which allows time to chop and change travel arrangements, sometimes on a whim. Travellers who are pressed for time, and who need to be keep to tight schedules and strict deadlines may well find that their travel agents are the best people to help organise and arrange their trips. At the very least, a trip to your travel agent to discuss your plans is always a good idea.

When in Rome…
I know many people who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the ‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’ principle. They only eat meals they are already familiar with. Or consume drinks they’ve had a hundred times before. The idea that they might experiment and try something different terrifies them. A seemingly endless list of ‘what ifs’ seems to paralyse them with fear.

Ok, let’s be clear here. I’m not suggesting you go looking for the most disgusting meals and drinks available to you (raw blood soup, fried tarantula’s, or balut, i.e., duck fetus), but a little experimentation to broaden the palate can make the travel experience that much more interesting, and add to any sense of adventure you derive from your trip.

The most unusual meal I can claim to have eaten is patsas, a Greek soup made from tripe, which in Greece generally involves using the stomach of goats rather than cows – the more common source of tripe, although tripe is also produced using the stomachs of sheep, pigs and deer. I can’t say it was the most appealing meal I’ve ever had, but (pardon the pun), I was able to stomach the meal without too much trouble.

As an interesting aside, the Illawarra Folk Festival (held each year in Wollongong, Australia) claims to be the only festival in the world that kicks off with a fully fledged tripe eating dinner. I wonder how many people have added that event to their ‘bucket list’?

Field of Dreams
Travel also gives you a chance to experience aspects of a culture in the home of that culture. Like baseball. During my stay in New York City over the summer of 2010, I attended my first baseball game – ever. That’s right, at 61 years of age (which I then was), I had never attended a baseball game – whether at the amateur level or professional.

I should point out that baseball is nowhere near as popular in Australia, where I live, as it is in the United States and some other countries, so I might be excused for this lapse in my sporting education. However, I was keen to experience the atmosphere and excitement of a professional baseball competition in the home of the game, and this I did when I attended a meet between the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park in Coney Island.

Sure, it’s hardly earth shattering in terms of adventure travel, but it would have been just as easy for me to ignore the opportunity to catch the game, and stick with the usual tourist fare available to every visitor in New York City – tall buildings, a top ten list of major attractions and such like. As it happens, my visit to MCU Park only wet my appetite for more, and hopefully my next visit to New York will coincide with a major league baseball game rather than one from the minor leagues.

The point I am trying to make is that there are many ways to break away from the usual and the mundane when you travel, and whether your idea of adventure is bungee jumping, or an exotic meal, travel often gives you the excuse and licence to try something new. Something you may never have considered trying before. Something which may in fact turn out to be one of the highlights of your trip.

-o0o-

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Crater Lake Under the Stars

Screenshot of the Star Trail home page
Ben Canales describes himself as “...an East Coaster, transplanted to the gorgeous Pacific Northwest,” where has taken to shooting stars with a passion, as can be seen in the time-lapse video below shot at Crater Lake National Park.

Ben writes: “This was certainly a demanding trip in all aspects: before/during/after, financially, and relationships. But, damn, the results are one of my favorite so far from the years I've been shooting stars.”

“My photography is about wonder. As adults we’ve lost the child-like wonder our world was beaming with when we were younger. I believe it is still there to be seen one just needs to work a bit harder to find it. My images are purposed to show the wonder of the sky as if you were standing under it yourself looking up.”

The time-lapse motion in the video is made possible by using the Dynamic Perception Stage Zero dolly system.

Ben maintains his own Star Trail website from where you can view and purchase a range of great images and see more videos. Music used in the video is by Joshua Radin.

At a length just 90 seconds, the video gives no idea of the real hours that must have gone into capturing the images, but the film gives city dwellers are real taste of exactly what it is they are missing out past the city lights.
...

-o0o-

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Fotos: New Orleans



I had no idea, when I arrived in New Orleans in September 2010, that my visit would coincide with the start of the American Football season. And so it was, that on a hot Thursday night, I found myself amongst tens of thousands of New Orleans Saints fans lining the streets of the French Quarter for the parade that would herald the beginning of the competition.


This series of images shows just a few of the fans who dressed for the occasion in fancy hats decorated in all manner of finery, including feathers, masks, cheap plastic baubles, and necklaces – thousands of which were showered onto the crowds lining both sides of the parade route by those taking part in the actual parade itself.


It was my first experience of an All-American Parade which included dozens of school marching bands, complete with dancers who sweated profusely in the stifling heat and humidity of a Crescent City evening.

My three day visit to New Orleans was far too brief to get more than the faintest feel for the city, and I would love to visit again for an extended period – preferably around Mardi Gras in March, when the weather is more conducive to extended walking and explorations of the city.

-o0o-
Frommer's New Orleans 2011 (Frommer's Complete Guides) The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square A Walking Tour of New Orleans - The French Quarter, Louisiana
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts (Documentary) Treme: The Complete First Season NEW ORLEANS EXPOSED: BEFORE AND AFTER KATRINA

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things You Discover Walking – Nellie’s Garden

General view of Mitcham Railway Station
Just around the corner from home is my local train station. Mitcham railway station is one of a number of stops on the Belair line. The station opened in March 1883, and over the years has played a major role in the South Australian rail system.
Modern commuter train speeding through Mitcham station

Mural painted on side of station building

For example: the "Melbourne Express" (now The Overland) used to stop at Mitcham; and the station once operated as a parcel shipping depot. During World War I, the station served as a pick-up and drop-off point for troops stationed at the Mitcham Military Camp, and finally, the railway enabled huge quantities of stone to be moved from nearby Mitcham quarries, including much of that needed for the construction of the Outer Harbour breakwater in the early 1900s.

But that’s not what this blog post is about.

This post is about Nellie’s Garden.
Detailed view of station building and mural

Alongside the heritage buildings that compose the Mitcham railway station is a delightful area of well maintained landscaped garden, known as Nellie's Garden.
General view of station building and murals

The garden is named in honour of Nellie Iris Ellis (1920-1983) who established the garden during the 1950s and 1960s. Mrs Ellis was the wife of Bob Ellis, a former stationmaster.

General view of Nellie’s Garden

General view of Nellie’s Garden

The Garden features huge old trees, many large camellias and other shrubs as well as some native species. Nellie died in 1983 and her ashes were buried here. At the northern end of the garden a plaque commemorates her association with the garden which is maintained by a volunteer group supported by the City of Mitcham.
Plaque commemorating the life and legacy of Nellie Iris Ellis

Autumn colours in Nellie’s Garden

Old station outhouse or ‘dunny’ as we like to call them in Australia.

Another in my occasional series of Things You Discover Walking posts. You never know what you will discover in your local neighborhood or town when you get out of your car or subway line and take to the streets - walking. Try it yourself one day. You may be surprised at what you find just around the corner.

-o0o-

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Three New York City Cultural Institutions

China Institute building in New York City
There is more to New York City than tall buildings, the bright lights of Times Square, and free rides on the Staten Island Ferry. Visitors and locals looking for something on the road less travelled might consider a visit to one of these three cultural institutions, all of which provide year-round programs of lectures, exhibitions and courses that educate, inform and help add something unique to any New York visit.

China Institute
Founded in 1926, the China Institute in America is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution whose stated purpose is:
To promote education and culture in art, literature, science, history, and other subjects among Chinese and Americans, and to cultivate a mutual understanding between China and the United States and the citizens thereof…

It does this by providing scholarships and for other expenses of students studying in the United States, and for the exchange of information and views between Chinese and Americans.

The Institute, located at 125 East 65th Street, encourages a deeper understanding of China through programs, activities, courses and seminars on the visual and performing arts, culture, history, music, philosophy, language and literature. The China Institute is the oldest bi-cultural, non-profit organization in America to focus exclusively on China.

Upcoming Programs & Events
Curator’s Lecture: Blooming in the Shadows
Thursday, September 15, 2011, 6:30 – 8 PM
Kuiyi Shen and Julia Andrews, guest co-curators of the exhibition, will speak about their work on Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974–1985.

Symposium
Saturday, September 17,2011, 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Blooming in the Shadows: Art and Culture at the Dawn of the Post-Mao Era. Renowned scholars and artists will speak on history and law, art history, literature, and performance to contextualize this ground-breaking exhibition.

Art Salon
Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 6:30 – 8 PM
A rare opportunity to meet three of the artists of the No Name Group to discuss their works in the exhibition.

Short Course: Windows to a Culture —The Fascinating Chinese Proverbs II
Tuesdays, November 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29. 6:30 – 8:30 PM
By popular demand, join us for another session of fascinating lectures by Ben Wang on a specially selected collection of Chinese proverbs.
More Information…

Japan Society (New York)
Japan Society building, New York City
Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that aims to bring the people of Japan and the United States closer together through understanding, appreciation and cooperation. Its mission is: "To bring the people of the United States and Japan closer together in appreciation and understanding of each other, and each other’s way of life."

It does this with a busy program of performances, exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, conferences, courses, seminars, symposia and workshops, all of which occurs at Japan Society's landmark building located near the United Nations at 333 East 47th Street, New York.

Designed by Junzō Yoshimura as the first building in New York of modern Japanese architecture and opened in 1971, the elegant structure with its distinctive facade features a three-story indoor bamboo water garden, a 262-seat theater, art gallery, library, conference and administration facilities, and the world renowned Toyota Language Center.

Toyota Language Center
Beginning in 1972 with a single class, the Toyota Language Center has grown into one of the most respected learning resources in the nation for the study of Japanese language, offering comprehensive levels of Japanese as well as a variety of advanced and specialized courses, workshops and conversation classes. In 2005-2006 over 2,000 students were enrolled in 165 classes.

The C.V. Starr Library
Japan Society's C.V. Starr Library contains roughly 14,000 volumes (primarily in English), offering Society members a comprehensive resource for information on Japanese art, history, culture, society, politics, religion and many other subjects.

Upcoming Programs & Events
Exhibition: Fiber Futures: Japan's Textile Pioneers
Friday, September 16 — Sunday, December 18
Moving far beyond traditional utility, Japan's textile pioneers fuse past and present to create innovative, beautiful and sometimes challenging works of art.

Japan's Beer Revolution: The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Japanese Craft Brewing
Wednesday, October 5, 6 PM
Thanks to Japanese craftsmanship, gourmet ingredients and attention to quality, craft beer in Japan has recently experienced a revolution.

Nintendo: What's Next for the House of Mario?
Thursday, October 6, 6:30 PM
Has a change in the industry toward lower-priced games for smartphones or tablets caught Nintendo flat-footed or will one of Japan's greatest corporations again find its way?
More information…

The Korea Society
Korea Society located on 8th floor of this 950 Third Avenue building
Like it Asian neighbours mentioned above, the Korea Society, at 950 Third Ave, New York, is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, organization dedicated solely to the promotion of greater awareness, understanding and cooperation between the people of the United States and Korea. In pursuit of its mission, the Society arranges programs that facilitate discussion, exchanges and research on topics of vital interest to both countries in the areas of public policy, business, education, intercultural relations and the arts.

In 2006, The Korea Society became the official organizing body for the annual New York Korean Film Festival. Operating since 2001, the New York Korean Film Festival has become the largest showcase of Korean-made films in North America.

Upcoming Programs & Events
Korea for Beginners - Summer 2011
This series of workshops for educators, immerses participants in Korean language, history, religion, literature, film, politics, and pop culture, as well as the global tensions surrounding North Korea.

A Taste of The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen
Join The Korea Society in welcoming Marja Vongerichten, star of the new PBS series Kimchi Chonicles, and wife of famed chef Jean-Georges, as she cooks and shares recipes from her newly released cookbook, The Kimchi Chronicles.

Minhwa: Korean Folk Painting Workshop
Minhwa commonly refers to a genre of Korean folk art from the late Chosŏn era (17th–19th C.). Based on Shamanic, Buddhist, or Confucian themes, Minhwa, as a popular form, conveys freshness and vitality in a relaxed ambiance.

The Writings of Lee UFan
The Korea Society presents the writings of celebrated artist, poet, and philosopher Lee UFan, in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum's retrospective exhibition, Lee UFan: Marking Infinity (June 24-September 28, 2011).

More information…
-o0o-

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