a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘the newsroom’

Thanks, Mayor Bloomberg! :)

It certainly seems like Michael Bloomberg has done a lot of good things for New York City.  And the world at large.  But I also owe him personally since my friend Sarah’s Bloomberg connections got us free access to some wonderful art exhibitions on this trip.

I am a big fan – and small supporter – of the arts.  But Bloomberg sponsorship of the arts – and the vision of making the arts more accessible to a wider audience – is definitely something to celebrate.  You may not realize but your free audio guides at the Guggenheim are courtesy of his generosity.

You will likely have to pay for the shows but I do think they are worth the price of admission.  To make sure my visit involved more than shoe shopping and gluttony, Sarah and I went to a couple of current shows at some of the temples to art that are a large part of the New York experience.

chrysler building on a sunny day!

chrysler building on a sunny day!

I know I think I slagged Picasso a little bit in an earlier post.  And he apparently produced 50,000 art works.  He didn’t seem to be a particularly great guy to have a relationship with.  And I’m not quite sure he didn’t court fame a little more than a proper Englishman would consider dignified… but, hey, the dude was a great artist.

I’m not convinced everything Picasso signed his name to is a masterpiece but he certainly produced a lot of them.  And this show was fascinating as it is only works in black and white.  Apparently Picasso did not believe colour was fundamental to the art.

My friend Sarah said I had to see it as lots of these works are privately held and this was a once in a lifetime chance to see them.  As a huge fan of Kandinsky – who thought colour evokes moods and used it as symbolism – I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to think about black and white…

But it likely won me over as a much greater fan of Picasso.  Not all the works really “spoke” to me but many did.  And it was incredible to see what he could do with such a limited palette.  It was also interesting to see how he used that limited palette to create many different types of work as he was influenced by the world events of which he was part and the women he decided to sleep with…

If you can, definitely go and check it out.


mom at the guggenheim

mom at the guggenheim

We also went to the Met to see the current Matisse exhibit.  Sarah is a big fan of Matisse.  I wasn’t so sure.  I think I saw too many Matisse posters in dorm rooms in my youth.  But he is an important artist.  And I love art.  And am always open minded 🙂

And it was a great exhibit, even if you aren’t a huge fan.  It is focused on Matisse’s love of drawing – and his penchant for reworking the same motif in different ways.  They have gathered multiple works of art for many of the famous pieces you might have seen in a major gallery somewhere in the world.

What engages you is that you see the same painting essentially from multiple points of view and it helps the non-artist to better understand the choices that the artist makes in composing the final product.


It also helps to see the process of modern abstract art, where the artist might start with a composition that is quite realistic and almost photographic.  But then they will distort details – or apply unnatural colours – or just simplify lines to create an essence of the subject matter rather than a true representation.  We weren’t always sure we would have chosen the final product based on the options, which made us wonder what the artist was thinking and how his process worked.

Art is meant to provoke us.  To make us question things.  To make us see the world in a new way.  To make us question ourselves and maybe evolve in new ways.  As a very analytical person, I am attracted to art for its fluid and non-linear qualities.

Humans seem to need to make art.  It happens in the poorest and most primitive societies.  I am a big advocate of science and the scientific method.  But I think really great societies engage their citizens in all ways and encourage them to work both sides of their brain.

Art has always offered me an emotional connection even my super analytical brain could not properly explain.  Art has provoked me and expanded my questioning and understanding of the society in which I live.  Art has disturbed me.  Art has made me smile.

It’s important.  It is one of the elements that create a civilization – and civil citizens.  So I salute Mayor Bloomberg and the efforts he has made to make art available to all.

I also have to thank him for the wonderful profile I saw on Bloomberg TV while I was in New York.  I am watching The Daily Show as I type this – and it is reminding me of the segment they did on Jon Stewart.  Given my mega-crush, it was fascinating to have more information on his early career and the genesis of The Daily Show.  They just talked to the cast of The Newsroom in their sketch, questioning whether the only investigative journalism on the air anymore is fictional…  It’s like Stephen Colbert singing with Harry Belafonte.  Some moments in life are just pure gold 😉


http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/Shows/TheDailyShow?videoPackage=129456 (for Canadians – Jan 14, 2013 episode)


I’m civilizing you :)

What a concept! 🙂  I have been thinking of plenty of posts but still catching up from my time in Manitoba so not quite sure when they will hit the internet but I just watched episode 4 of “The Newsroom” and it has already inspired one unwritten post before this one so I decided it was time…

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher.  It’s almost always “background” to me… and the sophistication of the plot and dialogue of most TV shows doesn’t require much real attention… but it’s nice to have the comforting noise so I often have the TV on even though I am not officially watching and can always catch more of the details in future re-runs.

But sometimes you stumble across something that arrests your attention and you can’t even just google stuff while watching and actually follow the entire show…  That would be “The Newsroom”, Aaron Sorkin’s newest baby.  I happened to stumble across the pilot in the last week or so.  I was planning to write about it with a heading, “america is not the greatest country in the world.”

I have been in love with Jeff Daniels for a couple of decades… and Emily Mortimer is one of those actresses who should be described as “one of the leading lights of her generation”.  And it has Sam Waterson and even Jane Fonda, for god’s sake.  For those who appreciate great acting and actors who can deliver great writing… well, it just restores your faith in humanity.  It really is trying to civilize us 🙂

The speech that Jeff Daniels (aka Will McAvoy) delivers in the pilot is one of the most intelligent, introspective, inspiring descriptions of the current state of the American nation and the American mindset I’ve encountered.  Both the dialogue and the delivery are astonishing.  At first Will is trying to avoid saying anything because he has become a meaningless rich celebrity without a point of view.  The question is why is America the greatest country in the world.  Not “is.”  Then he thinks he sees his old girlfriend in the audience, a journalist who he thinks is in Iraq dodging bullets.  She is holding up a sign that says, “it’s not.”  It inspires him.  Unlike his fellow pundits who cite something stupid like “freedom” he cites facts (remember those little nuggets, Fox News???), trying to explain to the underliterate audience just what America IS good at…  We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies. 

I am sure there will be more to be said.  As I type this, I am trying to follow Jon Stewart skewering Mitt Romney.  It is pretty sad that all the best news in the United States of America is not really “the news”.  That’s the message of “The Newsroom.”  Pundits and infotainment replacing actual facts and analysis that made us all smarter and better world citizens… Will McAvoy-aka Jeff Daniels-channelling Aaron Sorkin really IS trying to civilize us.  We need it.

Once upon a time I was in an elevator with Rupert Murdoch… back when he was just famous in Australia and there was no Fox News.  I shoulda slugged him.  But that would have been bad for my career 🙂  I made a lot of statements about my dad at his funeral but the one that fits tonight…

He watched Lloyd Robertson every night.  (I actually saw Lloyd in the CTV cafeteria but was never brave enough to talk to him.  I wanted to tell him about my dad.)  He knew way more about the world than George W. Bush ever will and he would have made a far better President.  You would think there should be an IQ test for the leader of the free world.  At least a few skill testing questions… and no calculators!

My dad was the one who taught me about the importance of civilization – and my role in keeping it alive.  Let’s hope “The Newsroom” is a hit – and we all learn how to be more civilized.  America can be great.  Will talks about that too – and it’s worth hearing.  America is your promising child who turned into a drug dealer when you weren’t paying attention.  Maybe the big mistake was giving Murdoch American citizenship?  Apparently points for character are not a big part of the criteria…


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