Monday, June 18, 2018

SUMMER OF MAGIC at New-York Historical Society: Review By Polly Guerin

An enchanting adventure into the magical world of illusion and mesmerizing feats of dare devil fate invites children and adults with childlike wonder and awe to an unforgettable SUMMER OF MAGIC at the New York Historical Society on display through September 16, 2018.
      With an exciting, museum-wide line-up of mesmerizing displays, evening programs, family
activities, and free films the exhibit offers a historical spectacle of magic and the magicians, like the legendary Houdini, who became famous performing death-defying feats. 
      You may not be an aficionado of the magic genre but at his exhibit you will surely respond to the opportunity to discover the tricks, illusions and escapes that mystified audiences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Then, too, the historical reenactors portraying the great illusionists of the past will invite you to try your hand at magic tricks, learn about mind reading, women in magic, tragic performances, unsolved mysteries, and more.
DAVID COPPERFIELD.
       The exhibition features highlights from the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts and the unrivaled treasure trove of magical historical artifacts from Emmy Award-winning illusionist David Copperfield's private collection. Image: middle-Harry Houdini's Milk Can, ca. 1908. Copperfield Collection. Photo Glenn Castellano. 
     Displays showcase iconic objects used by Harry Houdini in his famous escape stunts,
culminating with the spectacular installation of the DEATH SAW, one of Copperfield's ground-
Harry Houdini Artifacts
breaking illusions.
     Recalling his childhood experiences Copperfield related how his family endorsed, his passion for magic. "Every week my mother took me to Macy's," Copperfield told an enthralled audience. A re-creation of a magic shop includes archival information on how Copperfield learned magic tricks at MACY'S MAGIC COUNTER,  where magic demonstrator, DannyTsukalis (1965) 
mesmerized the young Copperfield, who learned magic there.  David was already an accomplished conjurer by the age of twelve, and at sixteen, he was an adjunct professor at New York University, where he taught a course called 'the Art of Magic."  Copperfield is an artist with numerous accolades in the fields of television, Broadway shows, literature and in popular culture. He is the first illusionist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
Handcuffs used by Harry Houdini
FAMILY PROGRAMS
     Family fun takes on Saturdays and Sundays during the Summer of Magic when the magical past comes to life with historical magicians, fortune tellers, escape artists and other marvelous illusionists from the past---all portrayed by Living Historians from the present. Image: Handcuffs used by Harry Houdini for the Daily Mirror challenge, 1904. Photo Homer Liwag. 
For in depth information about Summer of Magic and its related programs, visit the museum's website:
http://www.history.org/summer-magic. Would be magicians and illusionists will have a wide scope of subject matter to attract their attention, such as the Magic Workshop, Tuesday, August 7 at 7pm with Jeremy the Magician, when everyone will learn more astonishing magic to wow their friends. No prior magic experience is necessary. Then, too, there's Parlor Mind Reading, Tragic Magic, The Escape Game to name a few. SUMMER OF MAGIC Free films on pay-as-you-wish Friday evenings---free film screening's including Houdini, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, and War of the Worlds, and more.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! I can't wait to attend Women in the Golden Age of Magic, when magician Margaret Steele tells tales about the first glamorous female illusion partners.  Fan mail always welcome pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's website at www.pollytalk.com to click on links
to other Blogs on women determined to succeed, visionary men, fashion or poetry.
     

       

Saturday, June 16, 2018

VANISHED!!! Old New York's Past By Polly Guerin




















Landmarks in peril sound the alarm
Old New York is losing its charm

Neighborhood treasures disappear
Demotion inevitable, this I fear

The Sunshine Cinema closed for good
Petitioners wondered not understood

The walls of sacred places on the log  
And the 168-year old Hagadol Synagogue

Structures keep vanishing each year
Losing our color past is very clear

The wrecking ball struck a 173-old
Building on East Houston Street

The old city is quickly swept away
All that was wonderful in its day

Stamping out the varied landscape
For rising glass places in the sky

Why, Why Why do let us rally and protest
Save the varied urban landscape at its best.

All that makes New York City unique
The wrecking ball continues to deplete.




Monday, June 11, 2018

Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders at the Morgan: Review by Polly Guerin

Artists in the Middle Ages were ahead of their time with marvels of imagination. They filled the world around them with dragons, unicorns, and other fabled beasts to inventive hybrid creatures that captivated the imagination of medieval men and women, just as they continue to fascinate us today.                                                     Image: The Taming the Tarasque, from Hours of Henry VIII, France, Tours, ca.1500. The Morgan Library and Museum, MS H.8 fol Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2013.                                                          Drawing on the Morgan Library and Museum's superb collection of illuminated manuscripts, this major exhibition MEDIEVAL MONSTERS; TERRORS, ALIENS, WONDERS, the first of its kind in North America, is on view through September 22, 2018. It explores the complex social role of monsters in the Middle Ages and brings together approximately seventy works spanning the ninth and sixteenth century ranging from illuminated manuscripts and tapestry to metalworks and ivory.                                                                               Medieval Monsters leads visitors through three sections based on the ways monsters functioned in medieval societies. "Terrors" explores how monsters enhanced the aura of those in power, be they rulers, knights, or saints. Throughout the Middle Ages, rulers capitalized on the mystique of monsters to enhance their own aura of power. By embellishing all manner of luxury objects with monstrous imagery, the nobility and clergy could also reinforce and dramatize their own authority.                                                                         In the modern world, the term alien is most strongly associated with extraterrestrials but in the Middle Ages, however, aliens were very much inhabitants of our world. The second section on "Aliens" demonstrates how marginalized groups in European societies—such as Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, and the disabled—were further alienated by being depicted as monstrous. Women, the poor, the mentally ill or physically impaired could all be made monstrous by medieval artists.  
The final section, "Wonders", considers a group of strange beauties and frightful anomalies that populated the medieval world. Whether employed in ornamental, entertaining, or contemplative settings, these fantastic beings were meant to inspire a sense of marvel and awe in their viewers.                                                    Image: Siren, from Abus du Monde (The Abuses of the World) France, Rouen, ca.1510. The Morgan Library and Museum, MS M.42, fol.15r. Photography by James Chiu, 2017.                                  "In the medieval world the idea of the monstrous permeated every level of society," said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library and Museum, "from rulers, and the nobility and the clergy, to agrarian and urban dwellers alike.  Artists of the Middle Ages captured this phenomenon in images of beings at once familiar and foreign to today's viewer."
        Exhibition related firms, free with museum admission include King Kong vs Godzilla, July 13, 7 pm, Pans Labyrinth, July 27, 7 pm. Gallery Talks
include June 29 and July 20, l pm. A family program, Monstrous Masterpiece takes place Saturday June 16 11 am-1pm. Participants will join New York City-based artist Max Greis to create monstrous creatures with beastly painted paper and their favorite real and make-believe elements.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Enough, enough, need I say more, this is a fascinating exhibit that may strike terror in your heart or amuse by the mere monstrosity of the images.
Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  I invite you to visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com Click on the link in the left-hand column to the Blog that resonates with your interest on fashion, determined women, visionary men or poetry.
                                


Monday, June 4, 2018

The MAGIC OF HANDWRITING at the Morgan: Review by Polly Guerin

Peering into the intimate lives of the great artists, poets and historical figures is the focus of the new exhibition THE MAGIC OF HANDWRITING, but this exhibit is not about handwriting itself. It is about the "magic" that one finds in handwritten correspondence that intimately connects us back to the everyday life with the people who marked the page.
      Left: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). The concluding portion of an autograph, letter signed to his father, Leopold Mozart, (Mannheim) 7 February 1778 in which the-two-year-old composer ventures to make his own decisions regarding his musical career rather than following his father's strict instructions.   Collection of Pedro Correa do Lago. 
      Culled from Brazilian author, the Pedro do Lago's collection, 140 items are on display with letters and manuscripts in the hands of such other luminaries as Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Marcel Proust and Jorge Luis Borges and others.  Musical compositions and inscribed photographs and documents included, some never been publicly are mesmerizing insights into private lives of historical figures.
THE YOUNG COLLECTOR At the age of eleven, Pedro Correa do Lago began writing to individuals he admired. The English novelist, R.R.R Tolkien, Lord of the Rings fame, may have declined to send him anything, but scores of others did. Mr. Correo do Lago shares the passion of the Morgan's founder, John Pierpont Morgan, for collecting letters and manuscripts that bear the handwriting of some of the most influential figures in Western history and culture. 
        "From the time I was very young I have derived enormous pleasure from collecting autographs, which serve as tangible link that defy the passage of time," said Mr. Correa do Lago. "I am thrilled to be able to share of the manuscripts and letters that have brought me such joy and to do so within the library of one of the greatest American autograph collectors."
HISTORY:  Early letters document the personal and political relationships of Western Europe's monarchs and scions. Twentieth-century historical letter bring to life moments and relationships of great drama. In 1917, Dutch-born dancer known as Mata Hari writes a desperate plea from prison after being arrest on charges of espionage in 1947.  Tender moments inscribed in letters share the intimacy of love. At the age of eighty, his handwriting shaky after a recent stroke, Winston Churchill sends a letter to Pamela, Lady Lytton, his first
great love saying, "I am getting older now the trappings of power and responsibility have fallen away, and I totter along in the shades of retirement.ART: The items on view span more than four centuries and include examples of the handwriting of some of the leading artists in modern Western history including Benvenuto Cellini, J M W Turner, Monet, Henri Matisse and Frida Kahlo. The earliest work on view in this section is a small, hitherto unpublished block drawing with notes by Michelangelo, dated ca 1518. More than four hundred years later, in 1949, Henri Matisse wrote a note to his friend Albert Skira, the Swiss art publisher, filling more than half the page with a crayon sketch, thus turning
a personal letter into an intimate work of art.
       Image: Henri Matisse (1860-1954). Autograph note signed with initials, to Albert Skira 16 February, 1949. Collection of Pedro Correa do Lago (c) 2018 Succession
H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
MUSIC and PERFORMING ARTS; On view is an extremely messy
draft page for The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanculla del West), which reveals the energy and frenzy in which Giacomo Puccini composed. Then, too, there are examples of the handwriting of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig von Beethoven to a signed sketch of the dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky by Jean Cocteau.  
Finally inscribed photographs of some of the greatest entertainers of the twentieth-century include entertainers Billie Holiday, the Marx Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and even the Beatles. Their handwriting and signatures serve as reminders of their unique personalities. 
       Image: Signed photograph of Josephine Baker (1905-1975) inscribed to Mille Le"Dunf," Paris, 1930; Photograph by R. Sobol. Collection of Pedro Correa do Lago.
LITERATURE Extraordinary personal communications in the show include one of only tow know surviving letters from Oscar Wilde, author of Dorian Gray to Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and extremely complimentary letter from Gustave Flaubert to Victor Hugo, and a charming letter from twelve-year-old Ernest Hemingway asking his father if they might go see the Chicago Cubs play that weekend (it will be a dandy game"). 
Emily Dickinson writes "To be remembered is next to being loved, and to be loved is Heaven, and is this quite Earth? I have never found it so." HER LETTER IS A REMINDER THAT HANDWRITTEN LETTERS PROVIDE A POWERFUL MEANS OF REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE LIVING AND DEAD.
       Ta Ta Darlings!!!   If you love history as I do, scanning the private writings of the world's most famous people, is worthy of a visit to the Morgan.  I adore receiving fan mail, please respond to  pollytalknyc@gmail.com and visit Polly's other Blogs on www.pollytalk.com.