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Friday, January 30, 2009

Chic & Swag Friday

Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) November 19, 2008–February 2, 2009 The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, second floor An Evening with Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist's lush multimedia installations playfully and provocatively merge fantasy and reality. MoMA commissioned the Swiss artist to create a monumental site-specific installation that immerses the Museum's Marron Atrium in twenty-five-foot-high moving images. Visitors will be able to experience the work while walking through the space or sitting upon a sculptural seating island designed by the artist.



Behind the Scenes with Pipilotti Rist:

Amazon Rain Forest

The Amazon rainforest, also known as Amazonia, is one of the world's greatest natural resources. Because its vegetation continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen, it has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet". About 20% of earth's oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest gets its name from the Amazon River, the life force of the rainforest. The Amazon River begins in the Peruvian Andes, and winds its way east over the northern half of South America. It meets the Atlantic Ocean at Belem, Brazil. The main river is about 4,080 miles long. Its drainage basin covers 2,722,000 million square miles, and lies in the countries of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the three Guyanas. Sixteen percent of all the world's river water flows through the Amazon delta. Twenty eight billion gallons of water flow into the Atlantic every minute, diluting the salinity of the ocean for more than 100 miles offshore. The Amazon rainforest watershed is home to the world's highest level of biodiversity.


Fashion Week Paris 2009


Indonesia - Bali Island

Rice Field

Rice fields r beautiful 2 me..:)

Elie Saab Spring 2009

Iguassu Falls, Argentina

The falls are without a doubt majestic and breathtaking. Situated on the border between Brazil and Argentina, they lie 19 km upriver from the confluence of the Rio Iguazu and the Rio Alto Parana. The Iguazu river basin extends over some 62,000 sq km. The river rises up in the hills near Curitiba and flows 1,300 km across the Parana Plateau enroute receiving the waters from about 30 rivers before reaching the falls. Here are 275 falls plunging over a precipice of more than a mile and a half, with an average drop of 300 feet to the river below. These falls are 60 feet higher than Niagara and about one and a half times as wide. Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have exclaimed on first seeing these falls: "Poor Niagara! This makes Niagara look like a kitchen faucet." There are National Parks on both sides of the falls, both with subtropical rainforest benefits from the added humidity of the falls, causing an environment rich in vegetation and fauna. There are 400 species of birds including five members of the toucan family and over 100 species of butterflies.


Sao Paulo

Model Isabela Fontana of Brazil displays a creation as part of the Forum Fall/Winter 2009/10 women's collection during Sao Paulo Fashion Week January 19, 2009.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is named for just one of many canyons which form a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters on the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. Erosion has carved colorful Claron limestones into thousands of spires, fins, arches and mazes. Collectively called "hoodoos," these unique formations are whimsically arranged and tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name. You'll want to make sure you visit when the weather is good, so visit Utah for both Bryce Canyon weather information and other city and park weather in Utah.


Fendi Spring Summer 2009

Flyer NYC

Guys, my friend took this pic with her phone. You guys should go. She said Shaun White is going 2 be there. SO GO!:) & it's FREE!

The Police - De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

Guys, 4 sm reason this sng pop in my head yesterday so, there u have it. It's a rap. Have a great weekend..:)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jessica Alba

Born in Pomona, California, on April 28, 1981, Jessica Alba and her family moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, when she was an infant. Three years later her Air Force father brought the family back to California, then to Del Rio, Texas, before finally settling in Southern California when Jessica was nine. In love with the idea of becoming an actress from the age of five, she was 12 before she took her first acting class. Nine months later she was signed by an agent. A gifted young actress, Jessica has already played a variety of roles ranging from light comedy to gritty drama since beginning her career.

She made her feature film debut in 1993 in Hollywood Pictures' comedy Camp Nowhere (1994). Originally hired for two weeks, she got her break when an actress in a principal role suddenly dropped out. Jessica cheerfully admits it wasn't her prodigious talent or charm that inspired the director to tap her to take over the part -- it was her hair, which matched the original performer's. The two-week job stretched to two months, and Jessica ended the film with an impressive first credit. Two national TV commercials for Nintendo and J.C. Penney quickly followed before Jessica was featured in several independent films.

She branched out into tv in 1994 with a recurring role in Nickelodeon's popular comedy series "The Secret World of Alex Mack" (1994). She played an insufferable young snob, devoted to making life miserable for the the title character, played by Larisa Oleynik. That same year she won the role of Maya in "Flipper" (1995) and filmed the pilot for the series. She spent 1995 shooting the first season's episodes in Australia. An avid swimmer and PADI-certified scuba diver, Jessica was delighted to be doing a show that allowed her to play with dolphins. The show's success guaranteed it a second season, which she also starred in.

Her involvement in the show lasted from 1995 to 1997. Since the show ended she has appeared in a number of TV shows and films. In 1996 she appeared in Venus Rising (1995) as Young Eve. The next year she appeared on the "The Dini Petty Show" (1989), a Canadian talk show, and spoke about her role in "Flipper" and her general acting career.

She began working on P.U.N.K.S. (1999), featuring Randy Quaid, in 1998. In early 1998 she appeared in "Brooklyn South" (1997) as Melissa. That same year she was in two episodes of "Beverly Hills, 90210" (1990) as Leanne and in two episodes of "The Love boat: The Next Wave" (1998). She appeared in "Teen Magazine" in 1995 and various European magazines in the following several years. More importantly, she was featured in the February 1999 issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine. She also had major roles in two movies that year: Never Been Kissed (1999) and Idle Hands (1999). In 2000 she had roles in Paranoid (2000/I) and starred in the sci-fi TV series "Dark Angel" (2000).


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tadashi Fuse

Tadashi Fuse is a backcountry badass straight up. He charges the hills with violent ferocity masked in big, silent, and silky style. And aside from locking down an impressive part in It’s Always Snowing Somewhere, Tadashi’s striving to revitalize and bring new light to the snowboard scene in Japan. His vehicle for spreading this—Heart Films. He started this film company a few years back and has since built a mass of webisodes and three films, Heart Films Volume One, Volume Two and this year’s Volume Three to document it all. He’s been busy splitting up time between B.C., Japan, movie tours, and becoming a father while still taking a minute to speak his mind.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky was named the greatest player in National Hockey League history by The Hockey News in 1998. Among his accomplishments: he was the NHL's all-time leading scorer, he was named league MVP nine times and he led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cups in five years from 1984-88. Gretzky made hockey somewhat of a Hollywood fad when he was traded to Los Angeles in 1988, and he finished his career with the New York Rangers, playing his last NHL game on 18 April 1999. Later that year he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (the usual three-year waiting period was waived in his case), and the NHL retired his jersey number, 99, permanently throughout the league. In 2000 Gretzky joined the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes as a managing partner. Five years later, in 2005, he moved behind the bench as the team's head coach. His first year as coach was a rough one: A losing season on the ice; the deaths of his mother and grandmother; and a gambling scandal involving his assistant coach and implicating his wife.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lady Gaga

It’s no wonder that little girl from a good Italian New York family, turned into the exhibitionist, multi-talented singer-songwriter with a flair for theatrics that she is today: Lady GaGa.
“I was always an entertainer. I was a ham as a little girl and I’m a ham today,” says Lady GaGa, 22, who made a name for herself on the Lower East Side club scene with the infectious dance-pop party song “Beautiful Dirty Rich,” and wild, theatrical, and often tongue-in-cheek “shock art” performances where GaGa – who designs and makes many of her stage outfits -- would strip down to her hand-crafted hot pants and bikini top, light cans of hairspray on fire, and strike a pose as a disco ball lowered from the ceiling to the orchestral sounds of A Clockwork Orange.

“I always loved rock and pop and theater. When I discovered Queen and David Bowie is when it really came together for me and I realized I could do all three,” says GaGa, who nicked her name from Queen’s song “Radio Gaga” and who cites rock star girlfriends, Peggy Bundy, and Donatella Versace as her fashion icons. “I look at those artists as icons in art. It’s not just about the music. It’s about the performance, the attitude, the look; it’s everything. And, that is where I live as an artist and that is what I want to accomplish.”

That goal might seem lofty, but consider the artist: GaGa is the girl who at age 4 learned piano by ear. By age 13, she had written her first piano ballad. At 14, she played open mike nights at clubs such as New York’s the Bitter End by night and was teased for her quirky, eccentric style by her Convent of the Sacred Heart School (the Manhattan private school Nicky and Paris Hilton attended) classmates by day. At age 17, she became was one of 20 kids in the world to get early admission to Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Signed by her 20th birthday and writing songs for other artists (such as the Pussycat Dolls, and has been asked to write for a series of Interscope artists) before her debut album was even released, Lady GaGa has earned the right to reach for the sky.
“My goal as an artist is to funnel a pop record to a world in a very interesting way,” says GaGa, who wrote all of her lyrics, all of her melodies, and played most of the synth work on her album, The Fame (Streamline/Interscope/KonLive). “I almost want to trick people into hanging with something that is really cool with a pop song. It’s almost like the spoonful of sugar and I’m the medicine.”
GaGa shows her passion for love songs on such softer tracks as the Queen-influenced “Brown Eyes” and the sweet kiss-off break-up song “Nothing I can Say (eh eh).” “‘Brown Eyes’ is the most vulnerable song on the album,” she explains. “‘Eh Eh’ is my simple pop song about finding someone new and breaking up with the old boyfriend.”

For the new tour for this album, fans will be treated to a more polished version of what they saw (and loved) at her critically acclaimed Lollapalooza show in August 2007 and Winter Music Conference performance in March 2008. “This new show is the couture version of my handmade downtown performance of the past few years. It’s more fine-tuned, but some of my favorite elements to my past shows – the disco balls, hot pants, sequin, and stilettos – will still be there. Just more fierce and more of a conceptual show with a vision for pop performance art.”

It’s been a while since a new pop artist has made her way in the music industry the old-fashioned/grass roots way by paying her dues with seedy club gigs and self-promotion. This is one rising pop star who hasn’t been plucked from a model casting call, born into a famous family, won a reality TV singing contest, or emerged from a teen cable TV sitcom. “I did this the way you are supposed to. I played every club in New York City and I bombed in every club and then killed it in every club and I found myself as an artist. I learned how to survive as an artist, get real, and how to fail and then figure out who I was as singer and performer. And, I worked hard.”
GaGa adds with a wink in her eye, “And, now, I’m just trying to change the world one sequin at a time.”


Friday, January 23, 2009

Chic & Swag Friday


Top Scientists Warn of Water Shortages and Disease Linked to Global Warming

WASHINGTON, March 11 (AP) — The harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people will not have enough water, top scientists are likely to say next month at a meeting in Belgium.

At the same time, tens of millions of others will be flooded out of their homes each year as the earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels, according to portions of a draft of an international scientific report by the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Tropical diseases like malaria will spread, the draft says. By 2050, polar bears will mostly be found in zoos, their habitats gone. Pests like fire ants will thrive.For a time, food will be plentiful because of the longer growing season in northern regions. But by 2080, hundreds of millions of people could face starvation, according to the report, which is still being revised.The draft document, the second of a series of four being issued this year, focuses on global warming’s effects. Written and reviewed by more than 1,000 scientists from dozens of countries, it still must be edited by government officials.

But some scientists said the overall message is not likely to change when it is issued in early April in Brussels, where European Union leaders agreed Friday to work to cut greenhouse gas emissions substantially by 2020. Their plan will be presented to President Bush and other world leaders at a summit meeting in June.

The draft report offers some hope if nations slow and then reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but it says what has been happening has not been encouraging.

“Changes in climate are now affecting physical and biological systems on every continent,” the report says, in marked contrast to a 2001 report by the same international group that said the effects of global warming were coming. But that report mentioned only scattered regional effects.

“Things are happening and happening faster than we expected,” said Patricia Romero Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., one of the many co-authors of the new report.

The draft document says scientists are highly confident that many current problems — change in species’ habits and habitats, more acidified oceans, loss of wetlands, bleaching of coral reefs and increases in allergy-inducing pollen — can be attributed to global warming.

For example, the report says North America “has already experienced substantial ecosystem, social and cultural disruption from recent climate extremes,” like hurricanes and wildfires.

But Ms. Romero Lankao said that global warming soon would “affect everyone’s life,” and added that “it’s the poor sectors that will be most affected.”

Another co-author, Terry Root of Stanford University, said, “We truly are standing at the edge of mass extinction” of species.

The United Nations-organized network of 2,000 scientists was established in 1988 to give regular assessments of the earth’s environment.

The draft report says that hundreds of millions of Africans and tens of millions of Latin Americans who now have water will be short of it in less than 20 years. By 2050, more than a billion people in Asia could face water shortages. By 2080, water shortages could threaten 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion people, depending on the level of greenhouse gases that cars and industry spew into the air.

It says that death rates for the world’s poor from conditions worsened by the changes global warming brings, like malnutrition and diarrhea, will rise by 2030. By 2080, 200 million to 600 million people could be hungry because of global warming’s effects, it says.

It also says that Europe’s small glaciers will disappear, with many of the continent’s large glaciers shrinking sharply by 2050. And half of Europe’s plant species could be vulnerable, endangered or extinct by 2100.

The hardest-hit continents are likely to be Africa and Asia, with major harm also coming to small islands and some aspects of ecosystems near the poles. North America, Europe and Australia are predicted to suffer the fewest of the harmful effects.

“In most parts of the world and most segments of populations, lifestyles are likely to change as a result of climate change,” the draft report said. “Net valuations of benefits vs. costs will vary, but they are more likely to be negative if climate change is substantial and rapid, rather than if it is moderate and gradual.”

Many, though not all, of those effects can be prevented, the report says, if within a generation the world slows down its emissions of carbon dioxide and if the level of greenhouse gases sticking around in the atmosphere stabilizes. If that is the case, the report says, “most major impacts on human welfare would be avoided; but some major impacts on ecosystems are likely to occur.”


K. West & Louis Vuitton

Kanye West at the Louis Vuitton fashion show during Paris Fashion Week on Thursday in France. Kanye debuted his new Louis Vuitton sneakers (available in 4 different colors)

Beyonce At Last

B did an AWESOME job..:)

K. West Youth Ball

& of course as always K did..;)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jimmy Choo

The brand name Jimmy Choo is synonymous with high fashion, comfort, and quality. Before joining forces with a Vogue editor however, Mr. Jimmy Choo personally designed and constructed each of his signature handbags and shoes.

Jimmy Choo, whose real last name is Chow, was born in 1961 in Pedang, Malaysia. His name was misspelled on a registry and since he didn’t bother to correct the error, he was from then on known as Choo. Jimmy’s talents for design seem to run in the family; his father was the owner/operator of a successful shoemaking shop, Choo Kee Yin Shoemakers. Choo also describes his mother as being very good at shoemaking. His parents trained him in the art and Jimmy proved to be a quick study, making his first pair of shoes at the age of eleven.

Choo left his childhood home of Malaysia and relocated to England, where he spent three years studying at the London College of Fashion, which was then known as Cordwainers College. He graduated with distinction, worked with a shoe manufacturer for a short time, and then opened his own shop in Hackney, England. From the time they were introduced, Jimmy’s footwear was extremely well-loved by his clients, who described them as highly fashionable and surprisingly comfortable. He made everything from shoes, sandals, boots, and high heels, and developed a small pool of loyal customers.


Jimmy Choo


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Isabel Toledo

Born: Cuba, 9 April 1961. Education: Studied painting and ceramics, then fashion design, at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design, New York. Family: Married Ruben

The United States is better known for the mass production of clothing than for nourishing avant-garde talent. Isabel Toledo was one of the few cutting-edge designers working in New York, and financial success has been a long time coming. When she began designing professionally in 1986, Toledo was immediately recognized as a powerful talent; her clothes were featured in magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and sold in prestigious stores like Bendel's of New York. Since then, however, she has had legal difficulties with financial backers, as well as problems with American retail store executives.


Michelle Obama in Isabella Toledo

Sasha and Malia in J Crew

Sasha and Malia Obama looked adorable this morning at Barack's inauguration. Michelle wore a designer dress and coat by Isabel Toledo, but 7-year-old Sasha and 10-year-old Malia were more modest in Crewcuts by J.Crew, the brand's kids' line (though Michelle's green gloves were also by J.Crew).

A press release from J.Crew boasts:Malia featured a deep periwinkle blue coat, while her equally chic sister wore a deep coral dress under her sweet guava coat, vivid orange scarf and glove set, each tied with a velvet ribbon belt around the waist.

J Crew=1 of my fav stores:)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr. has now been dead longer than he lived. He lived an extraordinary life.

At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy. At 34, he galvanized the nation with his "I Have a Dream" speech. At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Chic & Swag Friday

The science of shopping

The way the brain buys
IT MAY have occurred to you, during the course of a dismal trawl round a supermarket indistinguishable from every other supermarket you have ever been into, to wonder why they are all the same. The answer is more sinister than depressing. It is not because the companies that operate them lack imagination. It is because they are all versed in the science of persuading people to buy things—a science that, thanks to technological advances, is beginning to unlock the innermost secrets of the consumer’s mind.

In the Sainsbury’s in Hatch Warren, Basingstoke, south-west of London, it takes a while for the mind to get into a shopping mode. This is why the area immediately inside the entrance of a supermarket is known as the “decompression zone”. People need to slow down and take stock of the surroundings, even if they are regulars. In sales terms this area is a bit of a loss, so it tends to be used more for promotion. Even the multi-packs of beer piled up here are designed more to hint at bargains within than to be lugged round the aisles. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, famously employs “greeters” at the entrance to its stores. Whether or not they boost sales, a friendly welcome is said to cut shoplifting. It is harder to steal from nice people.

mmediately to the left in Sainsbury’s is another familiar sight: a “chill zone” for browsing magazines, books and DVDs, tempting impromptu purchases and slowing customers down. But those on a serious mission will keep walking ahead—and the first thing they come to is the fresh fruit and vegetables section.

For shoppers, this makes no sense. Fruit and vegetables can be easily damaged, so they should be bought at the end, not the beginning, of a shopping trip. But psychology is at work here: selecting good wholesome fresh food is an uplifting way to start shopping, and it makes people feel less guilty about reaching for the stodgy stuff later on.

Shoppers already know that everyday items, like milk, are invariably placed towards the back of a store to provide more opportunity to tempt customers. This is why pharmacies are generally at the rear, even in “convenience” stores. But supermarkets know shoppers know this, so they use other tricks, like placing popular items halfway along a section so that people have to walk all along the aisle looking for them. The idea is to boost “dwell time”: the length of time people spend in a store.

Traditionally retailers measure “footfall”, as the number of people entering a store is known, but those numbers say nothing about where people go and how long they spend there. But nowadays, a ubiquitous piece of technology can fill the gap: the mobile phone. Path Intelligence, a British company working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tracked people’s phones at Gunwharf Quays, a large retail and leisure centre in Portsmouth—not by monitoring calls, but by plotting the positions of handsets as they transmit automatically to cellular networks. It found that when dwell time rose 1% sales rose 1.3%.

Having walked to the end of the fruit and vegetable aisle, Basingstoke’s hard-core shoppers arrive at counters of prepared food, the fishmonger, the butcher and the deli. Then there is the in-store bakery, which can be smelt before it is seen. Even small supermarkets now use in-store bakeries. Mostly these bake pre-prepared items and frozen dough, and they have boomed even though central bakeries that deliver to a number of stores are much more efficient. They do it for the smell of freshly baked bread, which makes people hungry and thus encourages people to buy not just bread but also other food, including frozen stuff.

Most of the information that shoppers are bombarded with is visual: labels, price stickers and advertising. But the wafting bread aroma shows smell can usefully be stimulated too, says Simon Harrop, chief executive of BRAND sense agency, a British specialist in multi-sensory marketing. In the aisle by the laundry section he suggests introducing the smell of freshly laundered sheets. Even the sound of sheets being folded could be reproduced here and contained within the area using the latest audio technology. The Aroma Company, which Mr Harrop founded, has put the smell of coconut into the shops of Thompson, a British travel agent. Some suntan oils smell of coconut, so the scent is supposed to remind people of past holidays. The company even infuses the fresh smell of citrus into a range of clothing made by Odeur, a Swedish company. It can waft for up to 13 washes.

Such techniques are increasingly popular because of a deepening understanding about how shoppers make choices. People tell market researchers and “focus groups” that they make rational decisions about what to buy, considering things like price, selection or convenience. But subconscious forces, involving emotion and memories, are clearly also at work.

I read this last week & I thought it was interesting... & want 2 share with you guys...2 finish reading this article visit...


Archaeologists Victoria Rojas (front) and Lara Hindersten (back) work at a site in the village of Tahtzibichen, in Mérida, the capital of Mexico's Yucatán state, on April 12, 2008.

Mexican archaeologists announced in August the discovery of a maze of stone temples in underground caves, some submerged in water and containing human bones.

Ancient Maya Indians likely considered the construction a portal for dead souls to pass into the underworld, scholars say.

Coverage of the find was National Geographic News's most viewed archaeology story of 2008.

Photograph by Tammara Thomsen/HO/Reuters

--National Geographic

Hong Kong

Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong with no doubt is one of the most attractive destinations for either tourism or shopping. The Stanley, a common fishing village located on the southernmost part of the Island has developed to be a famous scenic spot.

It is said that once in the center of the village, there was a large Bombax Ceiba (Red Kapok Tree) which would be covered in red blossoms during its flowering season. Hence, the villages' Chinese name was red pillar until the 19th century when the British, in honour of Lord Stanley, renamed the village.

As well as being a beautiful seaside city, Stanley has numerous places of historic interest and scenic beauty. Murray House, originally built in 1844 was demolished in 1982 and subsequently rebuilt after the European style in 1998. Now, it is a three-storied building containing several restaurants and a mini museum introducing its history. In addition to the trip, you can visit the other scenic spots in Stanley, such as Tin Hau Temple, Stanley Main Beach, St. Stephen's Beach, Military Cemetery, Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum, and Stanley Main Street.

The next required stop on your trip around Stanley should be its famous market. It is a perfect place to find that special gift for friends and relatives with numerous bargains including clothing, especially silk garments and traditional Chinese dress, as well as souvenirs, antiques, and Chinese arts and crafts. Therefore, not only foreign tourists but also the local population often visits the market.

If you want to relax and enjoy the view, there is a row of bars and restaurants along Stanley's waterfront for you to sample the delights of both Western and Eastern cuisine alfresco.


Hong Kong

Burberry Prorsum

Spring 2008

Khor Virap Monastery

The Khor Virap monastery stands before the snowcapped flanks of Mount Ararat. Many believe that the biblical Noah's Ark lies buried high on the mountain.

--National Geographic

Burberry Prorsum

Pre-Fall 2009

Calvin Klein

Pre Fall

Ralph Lauren

Crowbar Snow




Graphics Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Woody Allen

American motion-picture director, screenwriter, actor, and author, best known for his bittersweet comic films containing elements of parody, slapstick, and the absurd. He was also known as a sympathetic director for women, writing strong and well-defined characters for them. Among his featured erformers were Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow.

Much of Allen's comic material derives from his urban Jewish middle-class background. Intending to be a playwright, Allen began writing stand-up comedy monologues while still in high school. His introduction to show business came a few years later when he was hired to write material for such television comedians as Sid Caesar and Art Carney. In the early 1960s, after several false starts, he acquired a following on the nightclub circuit, performing his own stand-up comedy routines. His comic persona was that of an insecure and doubt-ridden person who playfully exaggerates his own failures and anxieties.

Allen's subsequent films contained a paradoxical blend of comedy and philosophy and a juxtaposition of trivialities with major concerns. The critical and commercial failure of the bleakly serious drama Interiors (1978) was followed by the highly acclaimed seriocomedy Manhattan (1979). In such later films as Stardust Memories (1980), Zelig (1983), The Purple Roseof Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Side Effects (1989) Alice (1990) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2007).


Monday, January 12, 2009

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton was a writer and filmmaker, best known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of ER. His most recent novel, Next, about genetics and law, was published in December 2006.

Crichton graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College, received his MD from Harvard Medical School, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researching public policy with Jacob Bronowski. He taught courses in anthropology at Cambridge University and writing at MIT. Crichton's 2004 bestseller, State of Fear, acknowledged the world was growing warmer, but challenged extreme anthropogenic warming scenarios. He predicted future warming at 0.8 degrees C. (His conclusions have been widely misstated.)

Crichton's interest in computer modeling went back forty years. His multiple-discriminant analysis of Egyptian crania, carried out on an IBM 7090 computer at Harvard, was published in the Papers of the Peabody Museum in 1966. His technical publications included a study of host factors in pituitary chromophobe adenoma, in Metabolism, and an essay on medical obfuscation in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Crichton's first bestseller, The Andromeda Strain, was published while he was still a medical student. He later worked full time on film and writing. One of the most popular writers in the world, his books have been translated into thirty-six languages, and thirteen have been made into films.

He had a lifelong interest in computers. His feature film Westworld was the first to employ computer-generated special effects back in 1973. Crichton's pioneering use of computer programs for film production earned him a Technical Achievement Academy Award in 1995.

Crichton won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer's Guild of America Award for ER. In 2002, a newly discovered ankylosaur was named for him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini. He has a daughter, Taylor, and lived in Los Angeles. Crichton remarried in 2005.

CRICHTON, (John) Michael. American. Born in Chicago, Illinois, October 23, 1942. Died in Los Angeles, November 4, 2008.


Spike Lee

Producer, director, actor. Born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up in a relatively well-off African-American family, Lee was making amateur films by age 20. His first student film, Last Hustle in Brooklyn, was completed when he was an undergraduate at Morehouse College.

He went on to graduate from the New York University Film School in 1982. His thesis film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, won a Student Academy Award.

Lee became a director of promise with his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It, in 1986. The film was shot in two weeks on a budget of $160,000 and grossed over $700,000 in the U.S. No stranger to controversy for certain provocative elements in both his films and public statements, Lee often takes a critical look at race relations, political issues and urban crime and violence. His next film, 1989’s Do The Right Thing examined all of the above and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1989.

Subsequent films, including Malcolm X, Mo' Better Blues, Summer of Sam and She Hate Me, continued to explore social and political issues. 4 Little Girls, a piece about the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 1997.

In 2006, Lee directed and produced a four-hour documentary for television, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, about life in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also did well at the box office that year with the crime caper Inside Man starring Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, and Denzel Washington.

Lee has also had success in directing television commercials, most famously opposite Michael Jordan in Nike’s Air Jordan campaign. Other commercial clients include Converse, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry's. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, is located in his childhood neighborhood of Fort Green in Brooklyn.

His most recent feature film release, Miracle at St. Anna (2008), tells the story of four African American soldiers trapped in an Italian village during World War II. This movie was praised for bringing the often overlooked experience of black infantrymen—known as buffalo soldiers—to the big screen. Critics, however, debated over how well the film was done. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Miracle at St. Anna “shows what happens when a film’s execution does not measure up to its ideas.”

For his next project, Lee is rumored to be making on a sequel to his 2006 hit Inside Man. He is also reportedly working on documentaries on basketball greats Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.


Steven Spielberg, Filmmaker

I don't want to make films like Antonioni or Fellini," he told his college newspaper back in 1967. "I don't want just the elite. I want everybody to enjoy my films." With a string of blockbusters that includes three top-grossing record holders—Jaws, E. T.: The Extraterrestrial, and Jurassic Park —director and producer Steven Spielberg more than fulfilled that ambition.

But the scale of that success has inevitably invited criticism. His detractors have panned his special-effects-laden extravaganzas as confections lacking genuine dramatic content.

Spielberg's best rebuttals are films like The Color Purple and Schindler's List, works that explore the internal struggles of complex characters living in tough times, whether the Jim Crow South or Nazi Germany. "He isn't afraid to address big historical issues—subjects that are not considered good box office," says biographer Joseph McBride. But Schindler's List was a commercial success—and was named one of the 10 greatest films by the American Film Institute.

An awkward outsider in his youth, encountering anti-Semitism in suburban Phoenix and witnessing the collapse of his parents' marriage, Spielberg found in his father's 8-mm camera a means of escape and connection. Shooting adventure and war films as a schoolboy, he created his own communities through the collective enterprise of moviemaking.

He later brought that gift for creative leadership to the organizations that he helped found, including the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation and the Shoah Foundation, which archives the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. In the words of McBride, Spielberg "turned his refuge into a kingdom." And by marrying entertainment with moral purpose, Spielberg's finest work challenges the film industry to follow suit.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Chic & Swag Friday

The Beauty of Africa

Whenever Africa is mentioned, most people think of roaming animals and jeep safaris. Whilst Africa has much more to offer than animals, the beauty that nature has bestowed on this continent cannot be overlooked. The animal inhabitants of Africa are amongst the most varied and beautiful in the world. Most of us know that Africa is home to the magnificent giraffe and the impressive cheetah. However, there is also a wider range of animals that live in Africa.

These include gazelles, crocodiles and the mighty hippopotamus. In some desert parts of Africa there are camels that roam freely. The image of these animals is a common feature in African films.

When you think of Africa you think seriously large. From the continental land mass to its individual parts, the scale is massive. Besides having the second largest continental surface area, containing 54 nations within its boundaries, it is also home to the River Nile, the longest river in the world, and also some very large lakes. As well as huge deserts, rivers and lakes, the continent also has high mountains containing igneous rocks and large swathes of ecologically important rain forest.

The Sahara desert is Africa's best known and biggest desert.

In fact, it is the most expansive arid region on the planet.

The African continent is home to more than 700 million inhabitants, who speak more than a thousand different languages between them. Many Africans have a low standard of living and in some countries suffer serious food shortages.

Tropical diseases such as yellow fever and also AIDS are a major problem.

Because of the African continent's sheer size and varied geology, a wide variety of important metal ores and also diamonds are mined. Many African nations are well known, from Morocco in the north through Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania to South Africa. South Africa, which is more developed than many of its neighbors, is making real efforts to develop its tourist trade. Abundant wildlife and areas of natural beauty, as well as availability of affordable high quality local wines makes South Africa attractive to visitors from Europe, Canada and the USA.

As if Africa does not have enough in its favor, it is also centrally located and most of the countries have a warm climate throughout the year. The South has a milder temperature which makes it an ideal place to visit in the summer months.