Happy Birthday Shirley Manson

Today is the 48th birthday of Shirley Manson.  I am have been fully obsessed with the band Garbage for nearly two decades, in no small part due to her.  I am a sucker for a misfit badass and a fuck-all outsider.  I adore her passion, her vision, her apologetically living on her own terms, her artistry, her charity, and her singing.  I press repeat whenever “Not Your Kind of People” plays in my ears at the gym, it is my not-so-secret anthem as of late.

Shirley_Manson

NAME: Shirley Manson
OCCUPATION: Singer
BIRTH DATE: August 26, 1966
EDUCATION: City of Edinburgh Music School
PLACE OF BIRTH: Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Best Known For:  Shirley Manson is a Scottish singer best known as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Garbage.

Born on August 26, 1966, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Shirley Manson is best known for her work as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Garbage. Before fronting Garbage, Manson played keyboards and sang back-up with Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, and performed as the lead singer of Angelfish. In 1995, Garbage released its self-titled debut album, which went double platinum due to hits such as “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Stupid Girl” and “Vow.” Manson went on to release four more albums with Garbage, including Not Your Kind of People (2012).

Shirley Manson was born on August 26, 1966, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The musician was the second of three daughters born to John Manson, a geneticist, and Muriel Manson, a former big-band vocalist.

Manson began taking piano lessons at age 7, and her love of music led her to eventually study at the City of Edinburgh Music School. Perhaps music was a refuge for the young girl, who was bullied relentlessly in school. The harassment took its toll; Manson fell into a deep depression and began cutting herself.

In 1984, Manson found an outlet to express herself: She became a member of the band Autumn, and later joined the group Wild Indians. Manson dropped out of high school at age 16, and soon joined the band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie as a back-up vocalist and keyboardist. She performed with the band until 1992.

Manson joined the band Angelfish as its lead singer, and together they released the EP Suffocate Me in 1993. Though the album failed to produce hits, it did get Manson noticed by Butch Vig, drummer for the band Garbage, when he saw her on MTV. He contacted Manson, who auditioned for Garbage twice before joining the band as its lead singer in 1994.

Garbage’s self-titled debut album in 1995 went double platinum in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia due to hits such as “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Stupid Girl” and “Vow.” Three years later, the band released its second album, Version 2.0, with Manson serving as not only the face and voice of Garbage, but also its primary lyricist. During the band’s two-year tour, Manson modeled for Calvin Klein to promote the album.

shirley manson 2

In 1999, Manson co-produced the theme for the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, starring Pierce Bronson as James Bond, the iconic character created by author Ian Fleming. Garbage’s third album, beautifulgarbage, was released in 2001 to lackluster sales. Infighting between members ensued, and Garbage broke up in 2003. The split didn’t last long, and the band reunited to release its fourth album, Bleed Like Me, in 2005. Led by the hit “Why Do You Love Me,” the album met with international success and, reaching Top 5 in the United States.

The reunion was brief, and the band took a hiatus for several years. During this time, Manson made attempts to create a solo album, but to no avail.

Her label refused to release the album. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Manson revealed, “I had a collection of songs that I thought were really strong. I took them in [and] played them for the record company. They weren’t interested. They told me they were too dark. They wanted me to have international radio hits and ‘be the Annie Lennox of my generation.’ I kid you not; I am quoting directly.”

Manson made her acting debut in 2008, playing cyborg Catherine Weaver on the second season of the show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. She returned to Garbage in 2010, when the band returned to the studio to write and record music for its fifth album, Not Your Kind of People, released in 2012.

Manson married Scottish actor Eddie Farrell in 1996. The couple split in 2001 and finalized their divorce in 2003.

In May 2010, Manson married record producer and Garbage sound engineer Billy Bush, who helped produce the 2012 album Not Your Kind of People. They live with their terrier named Veela.

Manson has no children, but that’s by choice. She told the Daily Mail UK, “I just missed that whole baby calling. I feel a lot of women think you’re a freak if you feel like that, and maybe I am strange, I never got that feeling.”

Manson and her husband reside in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Happy Birthday Mae West

Tomorrow is the 121st birthday of Mae West.

NAME: Mae West
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Theater Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: August 17, 1893
DEATH DATE: November 22, 1980
PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: Mae West started in Vaudeville and on the stage in New York, and later moved to Hollywood to star in films known for their blunt sexuality and steamy settings.

Mae West was an American screen legend and erotic icon famous for her voluptuous figure, sexy innuendos, and irrepressible wit. A free thinking and independent woman far ahead of her time, West expressed herself boldly, both sexually and creatively. She famously surrounded herself with handsome muscle men, both onscreen and off, and accrued a long list of famous and powerful lovers. Notably, West was one of the first female American playwrights, and actresses, to demand and receive creative control over her work. West’s creative expression encompassed nearly every facet of the entertainment spectrum including theatre and screenwriting, film, radio, television, and audio recording. And with a career spanning some 80+ years, she holds the further distinction of having performed both vaudeville and rock and roll. As a cultural icon she is immortalized by imitators, biographers, and even an assortment of snacks and devices bearing her name. Her trademark phrases have been translated into numerous languages, including Mandarin, Mongolian, Norwegian, and Lithuanian.

She was born Mary Jane West on August 17, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York. Her father, the bare knuckles prizefighter Battlin’ Jack West, was a native New Yorker from the lower east side. A heavy smoker and drinker, he turned to violence when thwarted. Her mother, “Tillie”, was a former corset and fashion model, and frustrated actress, who had immigrated to America from Germany with her parents. Although Mae West always claimed that Tillie was Jewish, records show that the family listed their religion as Lutheran upon arrival in America. West’s paternal grandmother had also immigrated as a child — an Irish Catholic, she married Mae’s paternal grandfather, John Edwin, while only 12 years old. Edwin’s own ancestry remains enigmatic. But according to West biographer Jill Watts, he may have been a light-skinned African American who passed for white.

Arising from this milieu of adversity, Mae learned early on that her unusual talent and good looks were an advantage that just might leverage her into a better life — if she played it smart. Encouraged by her mother, she used her sexuality to build alliances with, or dominate, nearly every man who crossed her path. And she learned to view marriage as a double edged institution – one that offered legal protection and social acceptance, but which robbed women of their independence and sexual freedom. According to most sources she took refuge in marriage just once, with fellow actor and lover Frank Wallace. When she tired of Wallace, and discovered she was not pregnant as feared, she ended the relationship. She neglected to file for divorce however, and Wallace showed up years later, in 1937, with marriage certificate in hand to receive a share of West’s ample earnings. She may have been simultaneously married to musician Guido Deiro, divorcing him in 1920. West allegedly used the alias Catherine Mae Belle West when marrying Deiro to avoid bigamy charges.

While West’s attitudes toward men were heavily influenced by her mother so was her choice of career. Tillie West had once longed to follow in the footsteps of idol Lillian Russell, even having her portrait painted in such way as to highlight a certain resemblance. She started Mae off in show business as early as age 5, according to some reports, and by age 7 Mae had won the gold medal in a talent show, with Tillie billing her as “Baby Mae.” By age 12 she was appearing on the vaudeville circuit and was soon performing as the sexy “Baby Vamp.” At 18 she introduced vaudeville to the “shimmy”, a sexy full body undulation that she had first observed in the blues bars of Chicago.

In the 1920s she had moved on to playwriting. A shameless self promoter, she is said to have single billed herself on works that were in fact jointly authored. Nonetheless both on the stage and later in film she showed tremendous wit and intelligence for writing dialogue, especially for those parts she played herself. But while West is chiefly remembered for her clever dialogue and powerhouse sensuality, much of her work dealt also with spiritual matters and West was herself a deeply and eclectically spiritual person for most of her life. Not surprisingly, her tendency toward frankness and maverick free thinking, on all subjects, often put her at odds with moralists and hard line religious leaders.

Her first major run in with censorship laws came in 1926 when she was jailed for the play Sex, which she both wrote and starred in. West was sentenced to 10 days in jail on obscenity charges. However she allegedly received star treatment in prison, dining each night with the warden and getting two days off for good behavior. Despite this fact she was sympathetic to those less fortunate, and upon her release she penned an article about the women she had met behind bars. Putting her money where her mouth was, she also made a donation on their behalf to fund a prison library.

In 1927 West was back in trouble again. Her new play Drag, about a homosexual party, was a big hit in New Jersey. But it was banned from Broadway and was soon bogged down in extensive legal battles. She bounced back the following year with her naughty, but more acceptable Diamond Lil. Not only was it a big hit on Broadway, but it more significantly catapulted her toward Hollywood stardom. West debuted on film in 1932 with what was supposed to be a small part in Night After Night, starringGeorge Raft. However West insisted on rewriting all her lines, and the result was pure gold — for West and for the film. Building on this success West was able to translate her Broadway play Diamond Lilto the big screen as She Done Him Wrong in 1933. Audiences went wild, and the film was a huge success, garnering an Academy Award nomination and catapulting male lead Cary Grant, to stardom. The picture saved its studio, Paramount Pictures, from bankruptcy.

West’s next film, I’m No Angel, was also a big hit with moviegoers. But her empowered sexuality and ribald wit, that so entranced movie goers, incensed religious leaders and moralists. The Catholic Church in particular launched a campaign to put an end to the “filth” churned out by West, and to an extent, by the studios in general. By July of 1934 Hollywood was being squeezed toward more exact compliance with the strict Motion Picture Production Code. Since West was not one to give in easily and she managed for a while to pull a clever bait and switch with the censors. She laded scripts with obvious material for them to cut, while slipping in more subtle elements they would overlook. Most famous of these were her sly double entendres, lines she rolled out with such droll understatement that fans were never quite sure what was a straight line and what was intentional innuendo.

But censors could not be duped indefinitely, not with more clever moralists writing them outraged letters. And so West found her work in Hollywood more and more constrained. She churned out several more films, including My Little Chickadee, in which she starred alongside nemesis W. C. Fields (1940). But 1943’s The Heat’s On proved to be her last offering, until her film rebirth in the 1970s.

For the next few decades she returned her attention to writing and performing for the more liberal environment of the stage. One of West’s favorite roles was her 1944 Broadway production ofCatherine Was Great. West’s version of the famed Russian empress was a woman after her own heart — a powerful, lusty, independent woman who surrounded herself with tall muscle men. According to West, an ardent spiritualist, this likeness was appropriate as she herself was the reincarnation ofCatherine the Great.

Like the historic Catherine, West’s identity as a sexual titan who seemed untarnished by age. West still demanded daily sex well into her 60s and held onto a girlish figure through an assortment of eccentric practices. According to West, she avoided sunlight to preserve her skin, massaged her breasts for two hours a day with cold cream to keep them firm, had her men massage warm baby oil into her skin to keep it soft, and began each day with an enema to rid her body of toxins and keep her skin silky smooth.

Determined never to be a “has been” (she hotly turned down Billy Wilder‘s invitation to play Norma Desmond in Sunset Strip) West frequently managed to reinvent and reintroduce herself to the American public. She had her own Las Vegas show in the 1950s. And in the 1960s, she appeared on the album sleeve for The Beatles “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, she popped up on a number of popular television programs (including The Red Skelton Show and Mr. Ed), and she even cut two rock and roll albums. In 1970 she at last returned to the big screen with Gore Vidal‘s Myra Breckinridge.

But although the time seemed ripe for West’s bawdy humor to make a come back, with society and censors more open to sexuality, age was catching up with her. Now in her mid 80s, she was struggling with diabetes and other ailments. During the 1978 filming of Sextette, her last film, she often needed to rest during scenes. And she forgot her lines so often that it was necessary to fit her with an earpiece so she could be prompted with her lines. But the indomitable Mae insisted on playing a woman in her late 20s, and she behaved as if she were still the knockout sex goddess that every man wanted to make love too. Despite such handicaps and eccentricities her co-stars would remember West as a grand lady. And when the film finally premiered her cult of longtime fans still found her adorable and embracedSextette, viewing the flaws of the film as delightful self-parody. But the public in general was not so impressed and despite added talent from the likes of Timothy Dalton, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton,Tony Curtis, Walter Pidgeon and George Raft, the film fell flat at the box office.

Two years later West’s decline culminated in a series of strokes, and she died on November 22, 1980 from stroke related complications. Two days later her former lover and longtime friend, George Raft, who had co-starred with West in both her first film and her last, died as well, of leukemia. Like Raft, West is memorialized by a Motion Pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Like only a handful of other stars her trademark gestures and phrases (such as “Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie”, “When I’m bad I’m even better”, and “Come up and see me sometime”) have entered into the pop culture lexicon.

Mae West’s films continue to be released on video and DVD and some of her plays remain in current publication. She continues to be immortalized as well by assorted drag queens and festivals who celebrate her talent and persona. More than 20 years after her death biographies of West continue to abound, including Mae West: An Icon in Black and White by Jill Watts (2003), Becoming Mae Westby Emily Worth Leider (2000), and Mae West: Empress of Sex, by Maurice Leonard (1992). West’s autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It, first appeared in 1959 and has been republished a number of times.

 

Happy Birthday Randall Shilts

Today is the 63rd birthday of Randy Shilts, the author of the Harvey Milk biography and the book And The Band Played On, of which I can see my copy as I type this.  You absolutely have to read the book and/or watch the film, it is your job as a human to understand, empathize, and learn.  Always strive for more understanding.  I first read And The Band Played On one Summer in Interlochen, it was before I had any direct connection to HIV/AIDS.  Since then, I have worked with, befriended, and loved people living with HIV.  I have volunteered hundreds of hours and raised thousands of dollars to support people living with HIV/AIDS, to educate youth about HIV/AIDS, and to research a cure for HIV/AIDS.  I have lost friends and mentors along the way to it.  As I have often said:  Every birthday wish, every coin in the fountain…

randy shilts

NAME: Randall Martin Shilts
BORN: 8-Aug-1951
BIRTHPLACE: Davenport, IA
DIED: 17-Feb-1994
DEATH LOCATION: Guerneville, CA
CAUSE OF DEATH: AIDS
REMAINS: Buried, Redwood Memorial Gardens, Guerneville, CA
GENDER: Male
RELIGION: Methodist
RACE: White
OCCUPATION: Journalist, Author
NATIONALITY: United States
BEST KNOWN FOR: Chronicler of AIDS, biographer of Harvey Milk

Randy Shilts was the first openly gay reporter at a mainstream metropolitan newspaper, and the author of three landmark books: the biography of his assassinated friend Harvey Milk, The Mayor of Castro Street; the definitive account of the early years of the battle against AIDS, And the Band Played On; and the study of the US military’s “Stalinesque” discrimination against gay soldiers, Conduct Unbecoming.

Shilts grew up in Aurora, Illinois, where as a young man he organized a local chapter of the conservative/libertarian group Young Americans for Freedom. Attending college in Oregon, he came out as gay at 19 years of age in 1971, and became a leader in the newly-formed Gay People’s Alliance. After earning a degree in journalism he went to work to The Advocate, and later covered San Francisco news on local radio, television, and in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle. He covered the first outbreaks of the new “gay cancer”, first called Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) but now knows as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). As the pandemic developed, Shilts became the Chronicle‘s lead reporter on the disease, and battled editors over both the explicit language necessary for covering AIDS and the paper’s early tendency to hide his reports deep in the Chronicle‘s inner pages.

By the time AIDS made the front pages, Shilts had criticized both the Reagan administration and some prominent gay groups for effectively pretending AIDS did not exist. He was called “a gay Uncle Tom” for reporting on common but dangerous sex practices in the city’s infamous bathhouses, but his call for safer sex practices has since come to be accepted as simply common sense. A frequent patron of the bathhouses himself before the danger was understood, Shilts was only 42 when he died of AIDS on 17 February 1994. He wrote the last chapters of his third book from his hospital bed, and in a pre-publication interview told the New York Times, “HIV is certainly character-building. It’s made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I’d rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character.”

Father: Bud Shilts (prefabricated housing salesman)
Mother: Norma Shilts (alcoholic)
Mother: Patricia Shilts (stepmother)
Brother: Gary Shilts
Brother: Reed Shilts
Brother: Dennis Shilts
Brother: David Shilts (fetal alcohol syndrome)
Boyfriend: Barry Barbieri (b. circa 1970, comm. 31-May-1993)

High School: West Aurora High School, Aurora, IL (1969)
University: BS Journalism, University of Oregon (1975)

Young Americans for Freedom
The Advocate (reporter, 1974-77)
KQED Radio (reporter, 1977-79)
KTVU-TV (reporter, 1979-81)
The San Francisco Chronicle (reporter, 1981-93)

Author of books:
The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (1982, biography)
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic (1987, social studies)
Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military (1993, social studies)

Happy Birthday Ricardo Romero Cortez Duque

Today is the birthday of Ricardo Romero Cortez Duque.  You can visit the full collection of his art HERE.  Here are some of my favorites:

Some of his work is in the current show at Vernissage:

Vernissage
Seattle Design Center
5701 6th Ave S, Ste. 268
Seattle, WA 98802
United States

 

 

Happy Birthday Barack Obama

Today is the 53rd birthday of the President of the United States of America, Barak Obama.  I chose to highlight his style as most of us are aware of his biography.

NAME: Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.
OCCUPATION: Lawyer, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
BIRTH DATE: August 04, 1961
EDUCATION: Punahou Academy, Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School
PLACE OF BIRTH: Honolulu, Hawaii

Best Known For:  Former Illinois Senator Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States. Inaugurated on January 27, 2009, he is the first African-American to serve as U.S. president.

Why He’s A Style Icon

Barack Obama has transcended politics and become an American Icon by adhering to the very old rule of dressing for the job you want. Most campaign-trail politicians in America like to appear in jeans to show they are one of the people, but Obama’s campaign already had that image and feel, so he never had to dress down for the cameras. In the process, he has taught men how to wear suits again. The clean lines and drape of his jacket never seem ill-fitting or bulky. The trouser cuffs break across his cap-toe oxfords just enough to perfectly end the slim silhouette that begins with the soft shouldered jacket. More importantly, by always wearing a suit so well, he never looks out of place. Few realize that he began his campaign wearing Ermenegildo Zegna suits, but just as Nicolas Sarkozy was lauded in France for wearing Prada, Obama soon found himself at the center of sartorial questions. Rather than change his look, however, he merely changed to similarly designed and fitted suits from Hart Schaffner Marx. Here, then, is another lesson to be learned: Be yourself and true to your own style no matter the designer or manufacturer.

Dress The Obama Way

The foundational rule of Barack Obama’s style is to keep your wardrobe simple with finely made dark suits, a crisp white shirt and the camera-friendly pale blue tie or a deep red tie just to change things up. At his most casual, you might see him wearing the suit without the tie or perhaps without the jacket and the tie with his sleeves rolled up just above the wrist. It is here at this moment that all men who aspire to greatness should take note: Obama rolls his sleeves in even folds revealing his only accessory — a sublime watch given to him as a gift from his Secret Service detail. At the beginning of his campaign, he sported a Tag Heuer on a black leather band, but nowadays he wears the Secret Service chronograph, which bears the seal of the United States Secret Service on a black dial with a black Buffalo leather strap.

Happy Birthday Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

Today is the 85th birthday of Jacky O.


NAME: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
OCCUPATION: U.S. First Lady
BIRTH DATE: July 28, 1929
DEATH DATE: May 19, 1994
EDUCATION: Vassar College, Paris-Sorbonne University, George Washington University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Southampton, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York

BEST KNOWN FOR: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, noted for her style and elegance, was the wife of President John F. Kennedy and later married Aristotle Onassis.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier “Jackie” Kennedy Onassis (July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994)[1] was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; they remained married until his death in 1975. For the final two decades of her life, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a successful career as a book editor. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and preservation of historic architecture, her style, elegance, and grace. A fashion icon, her famous pink Chanel suit has become a symbol of her husband’s assassination and one of the lasting images of the 1960s. A book containing the transcripts of interviews with Kennedy from 1964 was released in September, 2011.

During her husband’s presidency, Jacqueline Kennedy became a symbol of fashion for women all over the world. She retained French-born American fashion designer and Kennedy family friend Oleg Cassini in the fall of 1960 to create an original wardrobe for her as First Lady. From 1961 to late 1963, Cassini dressed her in many of her most iconic ensembles, including her Inauguration Day fawn coat and Inaugural gala gown as well as many outfits for her visits to Europe, India and Pakistan. In her first year in the White House, Kennedy spent $45,446 more on fashion than the $100,000 annual salary her husband earned as president. Her clean suits with a skirt hem down to middle of the knee, three-quarter sleeves on notch-collar jackets, sleeveless A-line dresses, above-the-elbow gloves, low-heel pumps, and famous pillbox hats were an overnight success around the world that quickly became known as the “Jackie” look. Although Cassini was her primary designer, she also wore ensembles by French fashion legends such as Chanel, Givenchy, and Dior. More than any other First Lady her style was copied by commercial manufacturers and a large segment of young women.

In the years after the White House, her style changed dramatically. Gone were the modest “campaign wife” clothes. Wide-leg pantsuits, large lapel jackets, gypsy skirts, silk Hermès head scarves and large, round, dark sunglasses were her new look. She often chose to wear brighter colors and patterns and even began wearing jeans in public.  Beltless, white jeans with a black turtleneck, never tucked in, but pulled down over the hips, also was a fashion trend that she set.

Throughout her lifetime, Kennedy acquired a large collection of exquisite and priceless jewelry. Her triple-strand pearl necklace designed by American jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane became her signature piece of jewelry during her time as First Lady in the White House. Often referred to as the “berry brooch,” the two fruit cluster brooch of strawberries made of rubies with stems and leaves of diamonds, designed by French jeweler Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., was personally selected and given to her by her husband several days prior to his inauguration in January 1961. Schlumberger’s gold and enamel bracelets were worn by Kennedy so frequently in the early and mid-1960s that the press called them “Jackie bracelets”. His white enamel and gold “banana” earrings were also favored by her. Kennedy wore jewelry designed by Van Cleef & Arpels throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Her sentimental favorite was the wedding ring given to her by President Kennedy, also from Van Cleef & Arpels.

Happy Birthday Alexander Calder

Today is the 116th birthday of Alexander Calder.  I am lucky enough to live in a city where I can visit (and walk through) an Alexander Calder sculpture whenever I desire.  People walk by it every day, exercising, walking their dogs, but I hope they realize the gift they are experiencing.  Not everyone on their morning jog can experience world-class art.

NAME: Alexander Calder
OCCUPATION: Illustrator, Sculptor
BIRTH DATE: July 22, 1898
DEATH DATE: November 11, 1976
EDUCATION: Art Students League
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lawnton, Pennsylvania
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
NICKNAME: Sandy Calder

BEST KNOWN FOR: Alexander Calder was an influential American artist and sculptor who invented the mobile.

Alexander Calder (born July 22, 1898, Lawnton, Pa., U.S.—died Nov. 11, 1976, New York, N.Y.) U.S. sculptor. He was the son and grandson of sculptors, and his mother was a painter. He studied mechanical engineering, and in 1923 attended the Art Students League, where he was influenced by artists of the Ash Can school. In 1924 he contributed illustrations to the National Police Gazette. In 1926 he moved to Paris and began making toylike animals and circus figures of wood and wire; from these he developed his famous miniature circus. In the 1930s he became well known in Paris and the U.S. for his wire sculptures, as well as for portraits, continuous-line drawings, and abstract, motor-driven constructions. He is best known as the inventor of the mobile, a forerunner of kinetic sculpture. He also constructed nonmovable sculptural works known as stabiles. Although Calder’s early mobiles and stabiles were relatively small, he increasingly moved toward monumentality in his later works. His art was recognized with many large-scale exhibitions.

Two months after his death, Calder was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, by President Gerald Ford. However, representatives of the Calder family boycotted the January 10, 1977 ceremony “to make a statement favoring amnesty for Vietnam War draft resisters.”