PRINT February 2002


Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons’s work is currently on view at 20.21 Galerie in Essen, Germany. Her new line of fashion dolls for Bozart Toys will debut this fall.

  1. Animal Planet

    Hard news from a parallel kingdom: This cable channel offers the perfect antidote to CNN with a combination of journalism, reality TV, and nature-nut escapades. One of my favorite shows, Animal Precinct, follows the beat of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Department, a group that investigates the thousands of crimes against New York City’s animals each year. Episodes have chronicled the infiltration of dog- and cockfighting rings and the arrest of a man who burned his cat’s whiskers. The chase scenes are riveting—better than Cops. Emergency Vets, Animal Planet’s answer to ER, examines such cases as the cat with a nagging headache and the dog with a drinking problem (ten quarts of water a day).

  2. The Langley Schools Music Project, Innocence & Despair

    This CD—a resurrected 1976 two-track recording of a painfully sincere chorus of sixty schoolchildren in a Western Canada gym—is being passed around like good gossip. Songs by Paul McCartney, the Beach Boys, and Don Henley collude with wobbly voices and Orff percussion to create an otherworldly school sing. “Desperado” is the exquisite high point.

  3. The Dig Site at the American Museum of Natural History

    Russ Tamblyn’s diminutive role in the 1958 movie musical Tom Thumb and Ray Harryhausen’s special effects in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad from the same year have left me with a lifelong desire for a palm-size friend. The “dig site,” an archaeological diorama modeled after an excavation in La Micoque, France, features a group of projected animated holographic figures, each six inches tall. Watch as the anthropologist-star and his crew engage in a lively question-and-answer session covering the site’s history.

    Model of an archaeological excavation at La Micoque, France, Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, American Museum of Natural History, New York. Model of an archaeological excavation at La Micoque, France, Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, American Museum of Natural History, New York.
  4. The Geoffrey Young Gallery

    If the idea of a summer gallery conjures visions of pastel seascapes and lacquered Don Quixotes, visit this tiny space in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Young is a poet and publisher of The Figures, a small press. He opened the gallery ten years ago as an outlet for trophies from bicoastal studio visits. Most of the works are small, affordable, and presciently selected. I first saw the art of James Siena, Alexander Ross, Kenneth Goldsmith, Marjory Reid, Keith Boadwee, Michelle Segre, and the Reverend Paul Plante there. And it’s the only place I’ve ever seen Gregory Crewdson’s firefly images. This past summer I discovered the altered-porn-magazine pictures of San Francisco artist Benji Whalen, who paints flannel pajamas on reclining women in a clumsy, edgy attempt to turn them chaste.

  5. “The Love Theme from Spartacus”

    Any cover of this hauntingly sad Alex North composition is a find, though nothing compares to Bill Evans’s complex jazz treatment on the 1963 Verve album Conversations with Myself. A close second is on Yusef Lateef’s Eastern Sounds. Sometimes I’ll wade through the endless Roman army marches on the sound track from the 1960 Kubrick film just to hear “The Love Theme.”

  6. Martin Munkacsi

    With fashion photography in a ho-hum moment, this Hungarian-born photographer’s pictures, shot for Harper’s Bazaar from the ’20s to midcentury, offer a breath of fresh air—literally. After escaping Nazi Germany for the United States, Munkacsi set about freeing models from the studio. His images, which look like they were made yesterday, show women running on beaches, standing on their heads, perched on rooftops, and twirling umbrellas on rainy days.

  7. Little Street, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

    Take the F train to York Street in DUMBO. Walk downhill toward the water. Turn right on Front Street and walk uphill until you come to Hudson Avenue. Turn left, then right onto Evans Street. Evans dead-ends on Little Street, which may be the littlest street in New York. It certainly is the quietest. It’s Brooklyn a hundred years ago, with sweeping views of the Navy Yard (where my father was stationed as a lieutenant when he returned from Saipan and Okinawa) and a white mansion that once housed the naval commandant. On your way back notice the tiny mid-nineteenth-century brownstone community, all that’s left of Vinegar Hill.

  8. Cherry Resource Center

    Joseph LaRose sold women’s shoes in Jacksonville, Florida, for fifty years. When he couldn’t find the proper footwear for clients like Joan Crawford and Brooke Shields, he had it custom-made with an eye toward exquisite detail. On his death in 1999, Cesar Padilla and Radford Brown, owners of the downtown Manhattan vintage clothing store Cherry, purchased more than 100,000 pairs of shoes from the LaRose inventory and lovingly installed them in a Long Island City warehouse. A visit there (by appointment only) is like a trip to a shoe museum, only here you can buy what’s on display. It is also, for me, the story of my life in shoes: pumps my grandmother and aunts wore to parties, the Bernardo sandals my sister bought, the Pappagallos my mother refused to buy for me.

  9. Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World, Benjamin R. Barber

    Life in New York since September 11 seems to be about courage by day, poli-sci class by night. Everyone is sifting through mountains of information in an attempt to understand the new new world order. Jihad vs. McWorld speaks clearly about the conflict of two diametrically opposed worlds—consumer capitalism and religious fundamentalism, addressing both their differences and their commonalities.

  10. McDonald’s, 160 Broadway, New York

    A stone’s throw from Ground Zero, this McDonald’s is the best place downtown to ponder, daydream, and otherwise get sentimental—there’s a grand piano and pianist stationed on the mezzanine. The musical selections have taken on a more patriotic tone since the reopening on September 24, but if you can stand McCappuccino, sit a while and you’ll still hear Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, and Bacharach live, seven days a week.