Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OMG: I missed Beatrix Potter at the Airport

Okiedokie, I was on a plane coming back from Oahu and I missed Beatrix Potter's birthday (28 July). So, here's a shout out to Peter Rabbit and crew and a few links to the farm critters who have changed the lives of millions of lucky children. Tonight, for old time's sake, dig out a copy or two of one of these classics and thumb through some of the most gorgeous art ever created for books.

Better yet, read the books to a few more lucky kids...and read with gaiety and emphasis...and a little bit of a British accent, if you can muster it. Pass out carrots afterwards, and have a Farmer McGregor Parade. Or something. (And, lordy, if there is marching with carrots, grab a I wish I had a picture or two of our old pajama parades...these children, they grow much faster than Peter and kin.)

Yes, again. (Or: "What's a Parent to Do? Ferris Bueller, McGoogle, Digg & Twitter 101")

More. Here. Now.

READ ROGER and the NYT and the plight of the parent who didn't grow up with twitter, texting, the internet, comcast, podcasts, you tube, myspacefaceyearbook, digg, twitter, mcgoogle....oh, the list does go on, don't it? Gosh, we didn't even grow up with cellphones. So, here's the thing:

The list will get longer. R U reading? They are. They're just reading differently, mom and dad...and it's still the written word. How do we just add a little (or a lot of) good art and literature? We can do it, we can do it, we can do it if we try...

Where is Matthew Broderick when you need him? Speaking of Matthew...

Ferris Bueller knew a thing or two about getting around and thinking different: he saw the world in his own zany/polka/arty way (am I pushing it here? I don't think so). Mr. Whole New Mind himself, do you suppose? I bet Ferris would be a lawyer now, with graying temples and a good sense of humor and a couple of kids who are driving him utterly crazy and keeping him up at night. All those kids of his would be fast texters, surely. All capable of going to law school and reading lots of long and weighty tomes, just like their dad. All good. 

We can do it if we try. The art and literature are out there; we just need to make sure it's coming through, in print and on screen and otherwise. They'll get it. I know they will. It's already started, and it's just going to get better.

Ah, yes...

This is what we're talking about. 

One more shot of my old backyard, segueing into the topic at hand: footprints, signs of life in the universe...Laura Atkins, of Tocka's World of Children's Literature (see blogroll, at right) is wondering what I've been wondering...and Publisher's Weekly is in on it, too...and, I'd venture, a few hundred (nay, thousands?) of authors and illustrators are thinking these things.

Previous posts on this very site are in agreement with David Levithan, who predicts--see the Publisher's Weekly article--that: "...books will not go away but may become more valuable, collectible objects..." 

Change is inevitable, yes? 

Let's usher in a marvelous new age of literature, one that will serve the hearts and minds and imaginations of today's youth, and tomorrow's. Let's embrace moving forward, and do it with grace and wisdom. So many new ways to bring art and books to children. What could be better?

Haleiwa: when this was your backyard as a kid, it's hard to top...

Those wonderful parents of ours just provided us with two weeks in heaven. Home again, we are, and missing our old backyard in Haleiwa, the wonderous cousins & co., and the incroyable folks who made it all happen. None better. 

One more time: Happy 50th, Mom and Dad. You are incomparable, and we love you so.

Time to get back to books and art and our soon-to-be released first video...almost live (okay, taped a few weeks ago), from Manhattan, it's art.books.children! Yes, I know you are waiting with bated breath. So am I. As soon as the cutting room floor is swept up, said video shall arrive. 


Saturday, July 12, 2008

midsummer alighting

We are lucky enough, this summer, to be spending a good bit of time with family...and, for us, that means zipping around the northeastern edge of the continent and skipping over the Pacific to an island with many happy sister and I were both born there. Our wonderful parents celebrated their 50th Anniversary in June, and the way they celebrate is to treat the family to time in Oahu. Their generosity and love are legend. They are our heroes, in so very many ways: they have given us the most exemplary blueprint for family, and we are forever grateful. 

It is good to be going back to the land of red dirt and tropic lightning...

ooooo, how we love Haleiwa. And Manhattan, Southampton (shells, above), Maryland, and Pennsylvania...and we wish we could've popped by West Point (there is nothing so grand as the Hudson River Valley), Groton Long Point, and something in D.C. besides Dulles. But there was not space enough nor time. 

Thus, the posts this summer are sporadic. There hasn't even really been time to unpack (which sort of satisfies the gypsy in me). We do hope to send word from Oahu, though--perhaps, tied with Germany, our favorite "no place like home" on earth.

When you grow up as an Army Brat, there are a lot of places you get to call home. It's a good thing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"...where on earth is she going with that?"

If you've been following artbookschildren--or just got here--you might be wondering where on earth I'm going with all of this...I submit, herewith, a mission statement of sorts:

It's about how art and literature will be delivered to children in the future. Not the future tomorrow...for that, just take a glance at some of the varied, erudite, and exceedingly knowledgeable folks on the lower right, at blogs elsewhere. 

Read Roger, 7 Impossible Things, the Longstockings, + others...they'll all give you the best possible vantage point on children's literature today, methinks.

It's the day after tomorrow 
that I care about. 
In 5 years--
and 10 years, and 20--
how will children receive 
good art, great literature, 
thought-provoking ideas:
how can we, the grown-ups, provide it 
in the best possible way?

In 5 years--probably much sooner, actually--the world of
children's literature will be quite different: a bold new universe with exceedingly wonderful literary vehicles with which to reach the young. 

Let's reach them in the best possible way, shall we, with 
the best possible material? 

They are the future.
Let's do the best we can for them.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tucked Away...The Swedish Cottage and Puppets in the Park

On Sunday, the 22nd of June, came across this little wonderful gem in Central Park. Perfect place for a puppet show, yes? Marionettes, no less. And right across from The Shakespeare Garden. Very Cool.

Also caught the first half of Hamlet @ Shakespeare in the Park

Ophelia's hair was a fabulous red. 

Unfortunately, I had serious jet lag and the only other thing I really remember is that Horatio (?) had a coat that deserves a shot on that wonderful blog, The Sartorialist.

Passing Strange Day: Stew II

Yes, it's "Passing Strange" day on art.books.children.


On Passing Strange. Stew,

here, shortly after a performance of "Passing Strange."

Stew, (please see artbookschildren post, yesterday), was discussing...outside of the Public Theater...the play, it's genesis, Berlin, and a few other topics that made me wish I had a pencil and paper or a flip or something, for God's sake.

And now, I see, Spike Lee will be filming Stew's glorious work of art. Cool. Looks like it was announced yesterday evening? Hey, remember: Stew won that highly coveted "artbookschildren Sublime Art of NYC" award first. (Okay, so he also snagged a Tony a few weeks ago, too...)

Go, Stew! Thanks for all the art.

Just thought of the things I loved best about Stew's post-show comments: that he & his collaborator, Hiedi, refused, at every stage, to change the production for anybody else...Stew noted that his producer acknowledged the genius of this/was it after Tony Tony Tony or before? I can't quite remember...And Stew mentioned that he looked forward to returning to Berlin and that Broadway was a happenstance, and not in the original plan. Or something like that. Oh, to have had a flip in my pocket. Made do with my little red Kodak.

The important thing: This is Why the Show is ART, pure and simple, ART like the stuff at the Metropolitan or the MOMA or in the vitrine of the New York Public Library. Stew and Heidi stuck to the vision. They didn't compromise, equivocate, or sell out: they didn't forget that the journey was the thing, not the destination. Let's hope Spike only serves to enhance this process, and stays true to the vision. Glancing at this article, I think we have a chance.

And thanks, Nathaniel and Viv, for steering us to the right theater. Genius.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stew. Sis. Eliasson. Belott. Winnie: The Sublime Art of NYC Awards, Summer '08

photograph: detail from "Books, books, books, books, books, books, and books." 
Brian Belott, 2005-2007

Just in from New York and the long tail of Long Island...
So much to say, so little time...a few highlights, for now:

Best Street? Elizabeth. Wonderful goodies. Not too glitzy. Clothes, toys, le labo olfactory brilliance, art, coffee.

Best Art Books? Belott, above, and more, at the MOMA. Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries. Next exhibit? Wunderkammer.

Best Play/Playwright/Performance Art & Best Coming of Age Story? "Passing Strange." Stew is a genius, and anyone who has not seen this play that can possibly get to the theater to see it should get there, right now asap do not wait. Again: genius. Wunderbar. Please go. Please.

Best Place to Eat on the Eastern Seaboard? Red Bar. Corollary: Best Dessert you never knew you were missing, but you are: Baked Alaska at Red Bar. (Note: You'll have to hop on the Jitney for this New York treat.)

Best Picture? Linda Elizabeth and Vivian Catherine photographed in front of Olafur Eliasson's magnificent Brooklyn Bridge Waterfall.

Best Sets, also: Best Place to be when it Rains? The top floor of the Polo Mansion with Tim DeN. (If you get there, check out the best leather picnic bag on the planet: you probably need it, if only to sneak a few portions of Baked Alaska out of Red Bar...)

Best Characters? The real Winnie and Piglet, ensconced with their true friends in a gorgeous vitrine (right next to a magnificent Gutenberg Bible) in a heavenly room at the breathtaking Fifth Avenue branch of the New York Public Library.

Best Museum Moment? At dusk, watching, from the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a magnificent red/gold sun set upon Manhattan and just to the right of Jeff Koon's "Sacred Heart (Red/Gold)." Up there, there is a nifty Martini Bar that serves ice cold water (!) and additional, more artistic libations that are just perfect for the end of a long hot summer day (I can promise you that it is the most delicious way to end eight hours spent zipping through the Met like Eloise looking for Skipperdee and finding, instead, enough glorious art to make your head and heart and internal gyroscope spin without cease.) Yummy, yummy, yummy.