The real Osage County

I grew up in northern Oklahoma, so I’ve been noting with bemusement how Osage County all of a sudden has a presence in popular culture.  First there was Ree Drummond, a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman, whose show on the Food Network has introduced foodies to the cuisine I grew up with and whose blog about her life on the vast Drummond Ranch has introduced a wide audience to Oklahoma culture.  Then native Oklahoman Tracy Letts won a Pulitzer Prize for his play August:  Osage County, which was then turned into a movie featuring a whole army of A-list actors, such as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, and (of course, since he’s seemingly been in every other movie this year) Benedict Cumberbatch. The film was shot on location, so all of these Hollywood superstars lived for two months in a condo complex in Bartlesville and shot the movie in a house in Boulanger, with scenes in Pawhuska and Barnsdall.  So I had to see this movie. [Read more...]

Lawsuit over the Statue of Liberty

You know the  “forever” stamp with a closeup of the face of the Statue of Liberty?  A few years ago, there was a bit of controversy when it was discovered that the image on the stamp is not of the Lady Liberty who presides over the harbor at New York City.  Rather, it is a copy of the cheesy fake statue at the New York-New York casino in Las Vegas!

That’s bad enough.  But now the sculptor is suing the US Postal Service for copyright infringement and may be entitled to royalties for every stamp sold (which comes to 4 billion).  In his lawsuit, the artist, Robert S. Davidson, claims that he “brought a new face to the iconic statue — a face which audiences found appeared more ‘fresh-faced,’ ‘sultry’ and ‘even sexier’ than the original.”  Maybe Mr. Davidson should pay a royalty for plagiarizing–if not vandalizing–the national monument!  Read about the case and compare the images after the jump. [Read more...]

The case of the Harry Potter stamp

The U. S. Postal Service is coming out with a Harry Potter stamp.  Never mind that there is nothing American about Harry Potter.  And never mind that the stamp is just a shot from the movie, with no particular artistic design.  And that the committee whose job it is to recommend subjects for stamps and to approve designs rejected it.

The postmaster wants stamps to be “more commercial” and less grounded in American history, culture, and landscape.  The goal that is to trump everything else is to make money for the deficit-plagued national monopoly.  Here is another idea:  Instead of tinkering with stamps, offer better service!

An account of the controversy, a picture of the stamp, and some additional thoughts after the jump. [Read more...]

How government funding hurts the arts

Conservatives usually complain about government funding of the arts because they see taxpayer money going for art they consider objectionable. That’s not really the point, argues dramatist David Marcus.  The real problem with government funding is that it hurts the arts. [Read more...]

Women’s hands & ancient art

Look at your hands.  If you are a man, chances are that your ring finger is longer than your index finger.  If you are a woman, your ring finger and your index finger are probably about the same length or your index finger is slightly longer.  Right?  This very minor difference between the sexes was used to determine that the hand-paintings in the caves of Spain–among the earliest art ever discovered–were mostly the work of women.

cave-hand-art

[Read more...]

The Most Beautiful Churches

In response to the feature I posted about on the most ugly churches, Michael Sean Winters asked for nominations for the most beautiful churches.  No slide show and just a few links, but go here for some nominations in different categories:  The Most Beautiful Churches | National Catholic Reporter.

These are mostly Catholic churches, except for the Air Force Academy Chapel, but I think there are more beautiful churches than just these, ranging from very traditional to very modern styles.  What are your nominations?  Pictures or links to pictures would be helpful.  And don’t just consider famous churches from noted architects.  Feel free to point to what’s beautiful in your own church. [Read more...]


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