2016 NYC Trip Photos #18: 20th Century Art Faire

Kandinsky!

My wife and I split up at the Guggenheim and walked the galleries at our own respective paces. Among the works we each photographed, one of the very few to end up in both our photo sets was Kandinsky’s “Black Lines”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we gave you an inside look at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum, renowned repository of assorted arts by myriad masters, with a focus on the early Modernists. That entry was the first in a long, long time to elicit a reader response on the ol’ MCC Request Line. Juliette Kings, a fellow WordPress blogger over at Vampire Maman writes:

Wonderful. More please.

Short, sweet, and entirely possible. Consider it done! Presented here are twelve of the many paintings we saw on our whirlwind tour of the Guggenheim’s geometrically dazzling facility. The Guggenheim’s complete collection is also viewable online via their official site, their official app for interactive use while you’re there in person, or through the numerous art aficionados who’ve shared these famous works on Pinterest and elsewhere. Enjoy!

Right this way for eleven more noteworthy works for your own independent art study!

MCC Request Line: Live-Tweeting “Batman & Robin”

Batman and Robin

That time when Batman, Robin, and Batgirl started wearing black…black like the studio executives’ hearts.

Fish in a barrel? Sure. But sometimes it’s nice to relax for one evening with some frivolous writing that breaks no new ground, fails to expand the creative boundaries of the internet, but relieves the typical tensions that dogpile on you in adulthood.

Wednesdays are one-man movie nights for me, a chance to spend time watching whatever while my wife busies herself with her own pursuits. This week I decided on an unusual direction. Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@RandallGolden) was given a short window of opportunity to stage an intervention:

Batman and Robin has been on my shelf for months. It was part of a four-pack, and geek completism forbade me from giving it to Goodwill and leaving the set 25% incomplete. I haven’t relived it in its entirety since the original, degrading theatrical experience. My plan was merely to see if I could watch it a second time without suffering a breakdown. Then a longtime friend asked me to live-tweet it, and a different kind of survival game was afoot.

Special thanks goes to the instigator, Nanci over at Tosche Station, a highly commendable site for anyone who’s a fan of Star Wars in general and the SW Expanded Universe in particular, and they’re your new best friends if you think JJ Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII should star Mara Jade as the main character. (For the record, I would not oppose this.)

And then it began. Right this way…

MCC Request Line #7: “Take Shelter”

Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Hey, wow, it’s a supposedly recurring feature everyone forgot because it stopped recurring!

Dormant but far from nonexistent, the Midlife Crisis Crossover Request Line is always open and accepting recommendations from MCC fans for stuff I can or should read, watch, or experience and then relay the results here, whether it’s high art or deep hurting. Today’s suggestion was offered a while back by British film reviewer Natalie Stendall, whose current home is at Writer Loves Movies.

Our feature presentation: the 2011 indie drama Take Shelter, starring Man of Steel‘s Michael Shannon and Academy Award Nominee Jessica Chastain. Writer/director Jeff Nichols would later go on to greater acclaim with 2013’s Mud, which signaled the beginning of Best Year Ever for its star Matthew McConaughey.

But before Mud…there was General Zod going mad in a quiet little town.

This way lies madness! Or doom! Or both!

MCC Request Line #6: “Les Miserables”

Hugh Jackman, Les MiserablesWelcome once again to the Midlife Crisis Crossover Request Line, in which recommendations from MCC fans send me reading, viewing, and reviewing assorted art and art-like objects, either because they want a proxy to evaluate the damage, or because my life won’t be complete without seeing them. Today’s suggestion came from Niki, one of MCC’s most dedicated fellow Bunheads fans. (Believe it or not, I hadn’t forgotten!)

Today’s subject: The world-famous Les Miserables, the mammoth French novel turned immortal Broadway play turned Hollywood film (not for its first time), today nominated for twelve Academy Awards. Niki’s original suggestion was for any version of the tale, but for some reason our local big-box stores have yet to be flooded with copies of the previous Liam Neeson/Geoffrey Rush version. The touring version of the musical performed in Indianapolis at some point, but that was before I received the suggestion. Blame the timing.

What I knew beforehand: It’s a big, famous book. More people have probably seen the musical than read the book. I knew it had characters named Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, whose cat-and-mouse routine was an early precursor to The Fugitive. A tiny girl was prominent in all the musical’s ads and best-selling merchandise. That’s really all I knew before walking in.

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MCC Request Line #5: “Gossip Girl”

Robert John Burke, Gossip Girl, The CW

An All-Star Salute to Big Bad Bart Bass

Welcome back to the Midlife Crisis Crossover Request Line, in which recommendations from MCC fans send me reading, viewing, or reviewing objects of varying qualities of attempted art, either because they think highly of them or because they want to see me squirm. Today’s suggestion came from the Tugboat Captain’s Wife over at Enchanted Seashells, a longtime fan who could probably already guess where this is headed.

Today’s subject: The long-running CW series Gossip Girl, whose two-hour series finale is scheduled to air Monday, December 17th. Rather than endure a potentially lethal double dosage, I’ll be watching last Monday’s penultimate episode called “The Revengers”. I presume this episode will not contain a single reference to the obscure 1980s Neal Adams/Continuity Studios comic book of the same name.

What I knew beforehand: Rich, promiscuous, young adults in upscale Manhattan are plagued by the menace of an anonymous blogger who writes annoying things. The stars of the show are Blake Lively (Green Lantern, The Town) and some actor name Chace, which may or may not be pronounced “Chachi”. That’s literally all I know off the top of my head.

Why I hadn’t tried it before: I go to great lengths to avoid the subgenre of young-adult softcore soap opera. But a reader suggestion is a reader suggestion.

The above intro was written before pressing “play”. And then this happened.

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MCC Request Line #4: “Witchblade”

Witchblade vs. MenagerieWelcome back to MCCRL, in which I take on reading, viewing, or reviewing suggestions from MCC readers just to see what happens, whether the results are good, bad, or mixed-bag. Today’s suggestion came to me from The Smile Scavenger, optimistic pursuer of that eternal expression that some find elusive and others elude to their own detriment.

Today’s subject: Witchblade, the longest running series from Top Cow Productions, one of the flagship divisions of Image Comics. The most recent issue, #161, was released on Halloween.

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MCC Request Line #3: “Grifter”

Welcome to our recurring feature in which I take on reading, viewing, or reviewing suggestions from MCC readers and sharing my results in the interest of entertainment science. Today’s suggestion was offered a few months ago by wwayne, who left me an English comment that seemed like quite a departure from his own moribund Italian blog. Nevertheless, a suggestion is a suggestion. This one’s for you, wwayne, wherever you are.

Grifter, Midnighter, DC Comics New 52Today’s subject: Grifter, one of the initial titles from DC Comics’ “New 52” relaunch of September 2011. For review purposes I picked up the most recent issue, #13, which was new in stores last Wednesday.

What I knew beforehand: Grifter was created in 1991 by superstar writer/artist Jim Lee as a cast member of the creator-owned super-hero series WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams, about a team of heroes from space who travel to Earth to hunt their nefarious arch-nemeses, the Daemonites. I was indifferent to the Image Comics series except for a handful of issues written by James Robinson (Starman) and a memorable run written by the legendary Alan Moore before comics publishers and Hollywood turned him bitter and X-rated. Grifter was present in those days but not a focal point. Lee later sold his babies to DC Comics and is now one of the company’s reigning vice presidents. His creations were later integrated into the DC Universe in altered forms.

As far as I could remember, Grifter’s super-power was being a guy with guns. One sentence in one panel of this issue hints at telekinesis, but I don’t remember that from my prior WildC.A.T.s reading experience. Perhaps it was always there but never mattered.

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MCC Request Line #2: “Dredd”

Welcome to the sophomore installment of our recurring feature in which I’m accepting viewing or reading suggestions from MCC readers and sharing my results in the interest of entertainment science. Today’s suggestion came from Senator Brett, photographer and Thought-of-the-Day thinker extraordinaire.

Karl Urban IS Judge Dredd IN "Dredd"Today’s subject: Dredd, the movie industry’s second attempt to adapt the iconic British comics character to the silver screen. The first attempt had okay visual effects, Sylvester Stallone reprising Cobra in funnier clothes, and Rob Schneider. Incredibly, the new version has fared even worse at the American box office, possibly because of rampant fears of an uncredited Schneider cameo.

What I knew beforehand: In a post-apocalyptic future, the grim and gritty Mega-City One sprawls across the land, contains hundreds of millions of inhabitants, too many of them evil. Whatever government remains has essentially given up on ruling and created an army of Punishers — duly authorized judges, juries, and executioners. The savings to taxpayers must be enormous. Judge Dredd is the best and angriest of the bunch. One of his frequent coworkers is Judge Anderson, a blonde with psionic powers. They kill crime.

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MCC Request Line #1: “New Girl”

Welcome to the first installment of a recurring feature in which I’ll be accepting viewing or reading suggestions from MCC readers and sharing my results, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer. Rather than dive face-first toward the bottom of the barrel, I’m leading off with a softball pitch of a show, as suggested by the curator and creator of Enchanted Seashells, a tugboat captain’s wife who’s also an accomplished artist in the medium of seashells. Check out her blog for some pretty inspired creations!

Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl", Fox sitcomToday’s subject: the Fox sitcom New Girl, now in its second season. Instead of researching at length and arming myself with knowledge of characters and situations in advance, I followed in the footsteps of our primitive ancestors and sat through a random episode with as little forethought as possible. In the old days of comic books, there was a saying that would translate into the TV world as, “Every episode is someone’s first.” Theoretically, if a TV show would like to attract new viewers and see ratings rise over the years, instead of dropping steadily from episode one to episode the last, then it would be in the showrunners’ best interest to ensure that every episode is a satisfying dosage for any viewer, whether new or returning.

To simplify the process, I tried the most recent episode available on Fox.com, entitled “Katie”. If any factual errors appear below, it’s because I relied only on my own knowledge and whatever was presented to me within the episode itself.

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“MCC Request Line” Prologue: What Do YOU, the Viewers at Home, Think I Should Try Out?

I’m trying something new here. Bear with me while I work out the details and set up my premise.

A few of my MCC commenters, the greatest Internet citizens of all time, have suggested works they think I ought to check out, either because they might be aesthetically rewarding, or because they’re likely to instill the kind of garment-rending anguish that I can only exorcise through verbal backlash in this particular venue. Some are things I’ve thought about but merely never took the time to sample. Some I’ve not tried or have actively avoided because of the awfulness I can sense emanating from them at a great distance. As my way of showing my appreciation for your suggestions, I’d like to give them a shot and then write about the results here. Since I have a few such requests lined up, an umbrella title seems in order.

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