Happy 80th Birthday Diane Ladd


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Today is the 80th Birthday of the amazing actress Diane Ladd.  Wiki and IMDB say her birth year is 1935 and Biography.com says it’s 1942.  It doesn’t matter.  She has has a long career full of amazing work, but if you only see one film, see “Wild at Heart.”  You will want to see everything she has ever done.

NAME: Diane Ladd
OCCUPATION: Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: November 29, 1935/1942
EDUCATION: Louisiana State University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Laurel, Mississippi
ORIGINALLY: Rose Diane Ladnier

BEST KNOWN FOR: Diane Lane is a Golden Globe–winning actress of films and TV and the mother of actress Laura Dern.

Diane Ladd  is an American actress, film director, producer and published author. She has appeared in over 120 roles, on television, and in miniseries and feature films, including Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Wild at Heart (1990), Rambling Rose (1991), Ghosts of Mississippi, Primary Colors, 28 Days (2000), and American Cowslip (2008). Twice divorced and currently married, Ladd is the mother of actress Laura Dern by ex-husband actor Bruce Dern.

Ladd was born Rose Diane Ladner in Meridian, Mississippi in 1932, the only child of Mary Bernadette (née Anderson; August 15, 1912 – May 23, 2002), a housewife and actress, and Preston Paul Ladner (August 14, 1906 – April 1982), a poulterer. Ladd is a second cousin of playwright Tennessee Williams and is also related to poet Sidney Lanier.  Ladd was raised in the Roman Catholic faith of her mother.

Ladd was formerly married to actor and one-time co-star Bruce Dern from 1960–1969; the couple had two children, Diane Elizabeth Dern and actress Laura Elizabeth Dern. Diane died at 18 months from head injuries caused by falling into a swimming pool.  Ladd and Laura Dern co-starred in the films Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose.  They also appeared together in Inland Empire, another film by David Lynch.  They most recently have co-starred on the HBO series Enlightened. Ladd is now married to Robert Charles Hunter.

In 1971, Ladd joined the cast of the CBS soap opera, The Secret Storm.  She was the second actress to play the role of Kitty Styles on the long-running daytime serial.  She later had a supporting role in Roman Polanski’s 1974 film Chinatown, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Flo in the film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  That film inspired the TV series Alice, in which Flo was portrayed by Polly Holliday.  When Holliday left the TV series, Ladd succeeded her as waitress Isabelle “Belle” Dupree.  In 1993, Ladd appeared in the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Chow?” of the CBS comedy/western series Harts of the West in the role of the mother of co-star Harley Jane Kozak. The 15-episode program, set on a dude ranch in Nevada starred Beau Bridges and Lloyd Bridges.

In 2004, Ladd played psychic Mrs. Druse in the television miniseries of Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. In April 2006, Ladd released her first book entitled: Spiraling Through The School Of Life: A Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Discovery. In 2007, she co-starred in the Lifetime Television film Montana Sky.

In addition to her Academy Award nomination for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, she was also nominated (again in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category) for both Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose, both of which she starred alongside her daughter Laura Dern.  Dern received a nomination for Best Actress for Rambling Rose. The dual mother and daughter nominations for Ladd and Dern in Rambling Rose marked the first time in Academy Award history that such an event had occurred.  They were also nominated for dual Golden Globe Awards in the same year.

Ladd has worked in the theatre as well. She made her Broadway debut in the play Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights in 1968. In 1976 she starred in the play, A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Rosemary’s Baby – Required Viewing


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Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.  Enough said.  You thought your neighbors were annoying?  They did not promise your unborn child to some sort of dark underlord, did they?  I would put up with a lot to live in the Dakota, but probably not that.  Just watch it.


Rosemary’s Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. The cast includes Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy, Maurice Evans, Sidney Blackmer and Charles Grodin. It was produced by William Castle.

Farrow plays a pregnant woman who fears that her husband may have made a pact with their eccentric neighbors, believing he may have promised them the child to be used as a human sacrifice in their occult rituals in exchange for success in his acting career.

The film was an enormous commercial success, earning over $33 million in the US on a modest budget of $3.2 million. It was met with near universal acclaim from film critics and earned numerous nominations and awards. The American Film Institute ranked the film 9th in their 100 Years…100 Thrills list. The official tagline of the film is “Pray for Rosemary’s Baby.”

‘Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel’ by David Rakoff


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I wish I could buy everyone David Rakoff‘s  latest (and sadly last) book:  Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish:  A Novel.  Those of you familiar with David Rakoff’s writing know that for the most of his career, he has been a memoirist similar to David Sedaris.  This last (and last) book is a departure, a novel  in rhyming couplets written while he was dying of cancer.  I bought the audiobook of it, read by the author (edited by Ira Glass) and completed 13 days before his death, I wanted to hear it how he wanted it to be heard.  I walked all over Manhattan on Christmas Day 2013, alone, listening to his words in his voice.  It is achingly beautiful.  I am buying the physical book today.  I am not the only one that thinks so, I have collected exerts of his book reviews here (attributions below).  They read more like love letters than reviews and rightly so.

Rakoff’s accessible and unpretentious style is at times reminiscent of the quicksilver Algonquin dazzle of Dorothy Parker or Ogden Nash, along with the greater emotional reach of Frank O’Hara.  The verse also formalizes the novel’s events, lending them a Homeric aspect — if only Homer had been chattier and had described a hippie-ish fellow as “Clad in the uniform he’d worn since Ohio: / Birkenstocks, drawstring pants (think Putumayo).”

The book is a heartfelt, charmingly profound American epic.  At a breezy 113 pages, it charts pretty much the entire 20th century, through a series of interlocking lives.  Early on, we meet Margaret, a redheaded, brutally poor preteen who leaves school to work in a Chicago slaughterhouse.  When the male employees jeer at her, she retreats, in her thoughts, “To a place close yet distant, both here and not here; / Present, but untouched by doubt or by fear.”

Margaret has a vicious stepfather: “Frank said that one time, in Wichita, Kansas, / He’d killed a man who had addressed him as Francis.”  What follows is vivid and ugly, but the scope of the storytelling remains fresh and optimistic.

The book leaps to Burbank, California, where a family barely gets by in the wake of the Depression:  “The yard a brown painting of motionless calm / The packed, ochre dirt and the lone, scraggly palm.”  There we meet Clifford, a boy who lives to draw:  “Above all, the thing that had captured his heart, / And opened his world: reproductions of art.”

Clifford is also inspired by radio broadcasts of a show called “Rex Bond, Inveterate Explorer,” and he develops a crush, imagining “He’d find Rex bound up in some old, empty warehouse / And carry him home (in the dream it was their house.)”  His sexual awakening occurs as he faints, after he’s asked to sketch a nude male model; he experiences “A vaguely elating but frightening bubble, / He felt buoyant and free and yet somehow in trouble.”

Clifford develops a touching and tumultuous relationship with his shy, awkward cousin, Helen, and the narrative shoots forward another decade or two, as the adult Helen works as a secretary in Manhattan.  She suffers the indignities of an affair and office gossip, until, at a Christmas party, “Helen just stands there, observing it all, / Sipping her gimlet against the far wall.”

Rakoff is adept at portraying the challenges and loneliness of his female characters, along with the swagger and arrogance of their husbands and bosses.  We revisit Clifford, now grown and living in a beloved San Francisco, where he draws underground comics.  When his work is attacked by conservatives for its gay subject matter, Clifford responds:  “I know it won’t sway you the smallest scintilla / To point out the sex is quite firmly vanilla.”

Time hurtles forward, to the 1970s and ’80s, where a love triangle blossoms, centering on Susan, a spoiled, Lacroix-clad denizen of the art world, who attends openings where “the waiters were done up like Jean Genet felons.”  Susan is pursued by the best friends Josh and Nathan, and a wedding occurs at Posner’s, a Long Island catering hall with “Venetian pa­lazzo floors pounded by horas / Cut-velvet drapes framing chopped-liver Torahs.”

Susan had never donned quite so bourgeois
A garment as Thursday night’s Christian Lacroix.
In college—just five years gone—she’d have abhorred it
But now, being honest, she fucking adored it.

As lives are ruined, or at least deformed, through deceit and ambition, other calamities erupt, including the scourge of AIDS.  As some characters sicken, others remain aloft, astride their high-powered fortunes, in homes with  “Framed scenes of hunts on a hunter-green wall / A pillow: ‘Nouveau riche beats no riche at all.’ ”

Rakoff artfully depicts shifting social impulses, as Susan changes her name to Sloan and then Shulamit.  As the century draws to a close, characters practice all the verbs in the book’s title.  Ultimately, some wonderfully surprising connections between the most disparate people are revealed.  The book ends with an especially lovely revelation that’s both ruefully comic and crushingly sad.


This video clip is advertising the release of the book.  It feels more like a tribute, with a reading of one of it’s passages by Ira Glass, Red Green, Dave Hill, Jackie Hoffman, Jodi Lennon, Linden MacIntyre, Bruce McCall, Stuart McLean, Rick Mercer, Jon Scieszka, George Stroumboulopoulos and Calvin Trillin:


Cupcakes – Creativity’s Antagonist


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“Is there anything more blandly sweet, less evocative of this great city, and more goyish than any other baked good with the possible exception of Eucharist wafers than a cupcake?” – David RakoffHalf Empty



Barbara Bush – Humanity’s Antagonist


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As if her fetid marsupium slash responsible for puking out a generation of unscrupulous GOP puppets isn’t enough reason to despise her, she also opens her mouth and speaks.  Her arrogance and hatred for the people her family has represented for decades is disgusting.

No one expects much from First Ladies, especially the Republican ones.  Read a couple books at an elementary school while it is filmed by the evening news, have a lunch for women in media, choose a cause (“Just Say No!”), but what I think is reasonable to expect is that they not be evil.

The late David Rakoff wrote it best.  Today is his birthday, please read it and follow his suggestion to commit it to memory and never forget.

“For most of my life, I would have automatically said that I would opt for conscientious objector status, and in general, I still would. But the spirit of the question is would I ever, and there are instances where I might. If immediate intervention would have circumvented the genocide in Rwanda or stopped the Janjaweed in Darfur, would I choose pacifism? Of course not. Scott Simon, the reporter for National Public Radio and a committed lifelong Quaker, has written that it took looking into mass graves in former Yugoslavia to convince him that force is sometimes the only option to deter our species’ murderous impulses.

While we’re on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity’s most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let me not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W’s liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I’m sorry, that’s not fair. I’ve no idea if she smokes.) When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq – purportedly to respect “the privacy of the families” and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war – the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son’s decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, “Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this “Let them eat cake” for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents’ children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on. Stupid fucking cow.”
David Rakoff, Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems

If only she stopped there, but she didn’t.

“What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) – this is working very well for them.” –Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 5, 2005.

New Orleans residents housed in various post-Katrina evacuations camps lost their loved ones, homes, jobs, pets and possessions.  Their city sustained a tremendous amount of damage that is still not completely repaired.  That they had cots to sleep on inside a gigantic sports arena isn’t what most of them would consider a situation that is “working very well for them.”

Stupid Fucking Cow, indeed Mr. Rakoff.

Karl Lagerfeld – Humanity’s Antagonist


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History has shown us that you can be a genius and a monster at the same time.  We have examples of the various perversions and mutations of the genius, but I am guessing that genius or not, the monster part is actually more rooted in insecurities.  A genius should be confident in his abilities and talents.  An evil genius may have come by the “genius” title accidentally and his insecurities of being “found out” have caused him to become a notorious asshole.  When you are a monster, no one bothers to get close enough to find out that you are really just an insecure man guarding the secret that he is merely average.  But David Rakoff (as always) says it best.

“All of the designers I have met up to this point have been very nice, although upon being introduced to Karl Lagerfeld, he looks me up and down and dismisses me with the not super-kind, “What can you write that hasn’t been written already?”

He’s absolutely right, I have no idea. I can but try. The only thing I can come up with right now is that Lagerfeld’s powdered white ponytail has dusted the shoulders of his suit with what looks like dandruff but isn’t.  Not having undergone his alarming weight loss yet, seated on a tiny velvet chair, with his large doughy rump dominating the miniature piece of furniture like a loose, flabby, ass-flavored muffin over-risen from its pan, he resembles a Daumier caricature of some corpulent, overfed, inhumane oligarch drawn sitting on a commode, stuffing his greedy throat with the corpses of dead children, while from his other end he shits out huge, malodorous piles of tainted money. How’s that for new and groundbreaking, Mr. L.?”
David Rakoff, Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems

Happy 51st Birthday David Rakoff


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Today is David Rakoff‘s 51st birthday.  He is quite possibly the wittiest writer we have seen this century.  The 2oth century had Dorothy Parker and the 21st had David Rakoff.  He has also had the great fortune of being an excellent orator of his own works, reading a David Rakoff book is a treasure, but listening to him read it brings color and light and darkness (oh the amazingly beautiful darkness) to the words in the ways he intended.  His death is an enormous loss for the world.  Please do yourself a favor and read (or listen to) something that he has written, I guarantee you will become a veracious fan.

I have re-posted several of my favorite David Rakoff posts today.

David Rakoff 1

Name:  David Benjamin Rakoff
Born:  November 27, 1964
BirthplaceMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Died:  August 9, 2012 (aged 47)
Location at time of death:  Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Occupation:  Essayist, journalist, actor
Nationality:  Canadian-American

David Rakoff was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the youngest of three children. His brother, the comedian Simon Rakoff, is four years older than David and their sister Ruth Rakoff, author of the cancer memoir When My World Was Very Small, is the middle child.   Rakoff has said that he and his siblings were close as children.[4][6] Rakoff’s mother, Gina Shochat-Rakoff, is a doctor who has practised psychotherapy and his father, Vivian Rakoff, is a psychiatrist.  Rakoff has written that almost every generation of his family fled from one place to another.  Rakoff’s grandparents, who were Jewish, fled Latvia and Lithuania at the turn of the 20th century and settled in South Africa.  The Rakoff family left South Africa in 1961 for political reasons, moving to Montreal for seven years. In 1967, when he was three, Rakoff’s family moved to Toronto.  As an adult, he said that he identified as Jewish.

“I will stipulate to having both French sea salt and a big bottle of extra virgin in my kitchen. And while the presence of both might go some small distance in pigeonholing me demographically, neither one of them makes me a good person. They are mute and useless indicators of the content of my character.”
― David Rakoff, Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems

Rakoff attended high school at the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, graduating in 1982. In the same year he moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, where he majored in East Asian Studies and studied dance.  Rakoff spent his third year of college at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and graduated in 1986. Rakoff worked in Japan as a translator with a fine arts publisher. His work was interrupted after four months when, at 22, he became ill with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymphatic cancer which he has referred to as “a touch of cancer”. He returned to Toronto for eighteen months of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

“Being a stranger was like being dead,
and brought to mind how, in a book he had read
that most folks misunderstood one common state:
The flip side of love is indifference, not hate.”
― David Rakoff, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

From 1982, Rakoff lived in the United States (minus his four-month stay in Japan in 1986), first as a student, then as a resident alien. In the early 1990s he was issued a green card, a subject about which he wrote in one of his early newspaper articles.[8] After living in the United States for twenty-one years, Rakoff was motivated by a desire to participate in the political process and applied for U.S. citizenship. Rakoff chronicled the experience of becoming an American citizen in an essay published in Don’t Get Too Comfortable. He became a U.S. citizen in 2003, while at the same time retaining his Canadian citizenship.

Rakoff was a prolific freelance writer and a regular contributor to Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Outside Magazine and The New York Times Magazine. His writing also appeared in Business 2.0, Details, Harper’s Bazaar, Nerve, New York Magazine, Salon, Seed, Slate, Spin, The New York Observer, Vogue, Wired and other publications. He wrote on a wide and eclectic range of topics.

Rakoff published three bestselling collections of essays, which include his own illustrations. Both Fraud (Doubleday 2001) and Don’t Get Too Comfortable (Doubleday 2005) were awarded a Lambda literary award (which recognises excellence among LGBT writers who use their work to explore LGBT lives), both times in the “Humor” category. Half-Empty (2010) won the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor.

In 2010, while writing the book Half Empty, Rakoff was diagnosed with a malignant tumor, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and later developed a post-radiation sarcoma behind his left collarbone and began chemotherapy.  He died in Manhattan on August 9, 2012.


Strangers with Candy (17-Jun-2006)
Capote (2-Sep-2005) · Ben Baron

Author of books:
Fraud: Essays (2001, essays)
Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities Of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-ending Quest For Artisanal Olive Oil, And Other First World Problems (2005, essays)
Half Empty (2010, essays)
Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish (2013 novel)
The Uncollected David Rakoff: Including the Entire Text of Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish (2015 essays)

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Happy 93rd Birthday Charles Schulz


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Today is the 93rd birthday of the Charlie Brown illustrator Charles Shulz.  The world is a better place because Charles was in it and still feels that loss that Charles has left.

charles schulz1NameCharles Schulz
Occupation:  Writer, Illustrator
Birth Date:  November 26, 1922
Death Date:  February 12, 2000
Place of BirthMinneapolis, Minnesota
Place of DeathSanta Rosa, California

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Charles Schulz was the creator and cartoonist behind Peanuts, a globally popular comic strip that expanded into TV, books and other merchandise.

Cartoonist and creator of the Peanuts comic strip Charles Schulz was born on November 26, 1922, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Schulz developed an interest in comics early on. As a teenager, he learned the art of cartooning from a correspondence course.

After serving in World War II, Schulz worked as an art instructor and created his first comic strip, Li’l Folks, which was published in a local newspaper. He sold the comic strip to United Feature Syndicate in 1950, and the company retitled it Peanuts.

Peanuts became one of the world’s most successful strips, and has been adapted for television and stage. Schulz based the Charlie Brown character on himself and the inspiration for Snoopy came from a childhood pet.
Illness and Death

peanuts charactersIn December 1999, Schulz retired from cartooning, citing health problems. His final daily Peanuts newspaper strip appeared on January 3, 2000, and his Sunday Peanuts strip ran on February 7, 2000. A few days later, on February 12, Schulz died at his home in Santa Rosa, California, from colon cancer.

After his death, Schulz received several honors, including the Congressional Gold Medal from the U.S. Congress in 2001.

Happy 70th Birthday Patrick Nagel


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Today is the 70th birthday of the artist Patrick Nagel.  If you grew up in the 80’s or have ever been to a nail salon in a strip mall, you know his work.  You probably didn’t know his story, which is where I come in.  I love the stylized era of his work, it takes me right back to watching music videos on MTV.  I think of Remington Steele, huge brick cell phones, and Duran Duran.  I hope this helps you appreciate his work and gives you a fuller understanding of the man behind the woman in sunglasses.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Patrick Nagel
BIRTH DATE: November 25, 1945
BIRTH PLACE: Dayton, Ohio
DATE OF DEATH: February 4, 1984
PLACE OF DEATH: Santa Monica, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: American artist that created popular illustrations on board, paper, and canvas, most of which emphasize the simple grace and beauty of the female form, in a distinctive style descended from Art Deco. He is best known for his illustrations for Playboy magazine and the pop group Duran Duran, for whom he designed the cover of the best selling album Rio.

Nagel was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1945, but was raised and spent most of his life in the Los Angeles area. After serving in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, Nagel attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1969, and in that same year he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton.

In 1971, Nagel worked as a graphic designer for ABC Television, producing graphics for promotions and news broadcasts. The following year, he began work as a freelance artist for major corporations and magazines, including Architectural Digest, Harper’s Magazine, IBM, ITT Corporation, MGM, Oui, Rolling Stone, United Artists, and Universal Studios.

In 1976, Nagel began to regularly contribute images to Playboy magazine, which improved his exposure and the popularity of “the Nagel Woman” image to a huge audience. In 1978, he made his first poster image for Mirage Editions, with whom he would print many Nagel women images.

Nagel’s 1982 painting for the album cover of rock group Duran Duran’s hit album Rio would become one of his best known images.

He also worked for many commercial clients, including Intel, Lucky Strike cigarettes, Ballentine Whiskey, and Budweiser. As his popularity grew he began offering limited edition prints of his work.

Nagel would start with a photograph and work down, always simplifying and removing elements which he felt were unnecessary. The resulting image would look flat, but emphasized those elements which he felt were most important.

According to Elena G. Millie, curator of the poster collection at the Library of Congress:

Like some of the old print masters (Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard, for example), Nagel was influenced by the Japanese woodblock print, with figures silhouetted against a neutral background, with strong areas of black and white, and with bold line and unusual angles of view. He handled colors with rare originality and freedom; he forced perspective from flat, two-dimensional images; and he kept simplifying, working to get more across with fewer elements. His simple and precise imagery is also reminiscent of the art-deco style of the 1920s and 1930s- its sharp linear treatment, geometric simplicity, and stylization of form yield images that are formal yet decorative.

Nagel’s figures generally have black hair, bright white skin, full-lipped mouths, and the distinctive Nagel eyes, which are often squared off in the later works. Because of the intense stylization and reduction of facial features into clean lines, generally the figures resemble each other, though Nagel worked with many models, including Playboy Playmates Cathy St. George, Tracy Vaccaro and Shannon Tweed. Nagel also painted several celebrity portraits including those of Joan Collins (whose portrait was subsequently released as a limited edition print) and Joanna Cassidy.

In 1984, at the age of 38, the artist participated in a 15-minute celebrity “Aerobathon” to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Afterwards, he was found dead in his car, and doctors determined by autopsy that he had suffered a heart attack.

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Happy 55th Birthday John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.


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Today is JFK Jr’s 55th birthday.  His father, the then President of The United States of America was assassinated a few days before his third birthday.  That is not an easy start for anyone, but being who he was, his every move was photographed.  A graph of the highs and lows in his life would be of earthquake-on-the-richter-scale proportions.  He is truly admirable and one of my personal Style Icons.  The world is a better place because JFK Jr was in it and still feels the loss that JFK Jr has left.

NAME: John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.
BIRTH DATE: November 25, 1960
DEATH DATE: July 16, 1999
EDUCATION: Brown University, New York University Law School
PLACE OF BIRTH: Washington, DC

BEST KNOWN FOR: Later the publisher of political magazine George, JFK Jr. was the first child ever born to a president-elect, the son of JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Born November 25, 1960, in Washington, D.C. The first child ever born to a president-elect, Kennedy was the second child born to John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (later Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis). After President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, little “John-John” won America’s hearts in that much photographed moment when, as just a small child, he bravely saluted his father’s casket. With looks inherited from his attractive parents, Kennedy, despite strict protection from his mother, was in the media spotlight his entire life as one of American journalists’ favorite subjects.

After flirting very briefly with a career in acting and graduating from Brown University and New York University Law School, Kennedy worked as an assistant district attorney in New York City and then quit to get into the business of journalism himself. In 1995, he launched the successful, hip political magazine, George. Although he certainly could have had a future in politics, he never entered the political arena, choosing instead to make his own way in the world — in publishing and in public service. (He did, however, leave the door open for running for office later in his life.) Known for his adventurous nature, he nonetheless took pains to separate himself from the more reckless antics and self-destructive impulses of some of the other men in the Kennedy clan.

Named “sexiest man alive” by People magazine in 1988, John F. Kennedy Jr. had been linked with numerous Hollywood celebrities including Madonna, Daryl Hannah, Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields, Sarah Jessica Parker and numerous models. Kennedy broke hearts across America when, in September 1996, he married his “soulmate” and longtime girlfriend Carolyn Bessette. The two shared a loft apartment in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood, where Kennedy was often seen roller-blading and biking on the city’s streets.

On July 16, 1999, Kennedy, Bessette-Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, were flying to Martha’s Vineyard on a single engine private plane piloted by Kennedy, en route to his cousin Rory Kennedy‘s wedding in Hyannisport, Massachusetts. When their plane did not arrive as scheduled, massive search parties were sent out to locate the aircraft. Search efforts persisted throughout the following days, initially to no avail. Luggage and debris from the wreckage were found washed ashore the Gay Head section of Martha’s Vineyard, and the three passengers were eventually presumed dead. Across the nation, Americans mourned the loss of the beloved son of one of the country’s most admired families, and shared their sadness in the tragedies that seem to haunt them.

On July 21, search crews recovered the bodies of JFK, Jr., his wife and sister-in-law. The Kennedy and Bessette families planned a burial at sea for all three. A private mass for JFK Jr. and Carolyn, was held at the Church of St. Thomas More on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis worshipped; it was attended by President and Mrs. Clinton.

Kennedy was survived by his uncle, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, and his sister, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, as well as a number of cousins. Struggling from lack of advertising support (although circulation was growing), Kennedy’s George magazine ceased publication in early 2001.


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