Grab your headphones and find a task you can do without your ears. Professor Bruce Springsteen has delivered the keynote speech at South by Southwest festival and it's well worth a listen. Start to finish, give yourself an hour.
Call me a geek -- At North Side High School, I wrote my junior thesis on the history of rock-and-roll -- but Bruce philosophizing on the singers and bands that changed his life is like a free master class in music.
My favorite excerpts:
The Philadelphia Museum of Art's "Van Gogh Up Close" is a terrific show.
Alas, so are the crowds, especially on Sundays. Turns out lots of people had the same great idea on a bitterly cold February afternoon.
The result is "Van Gogh Kind of Up Close," though it's wonderful to see the museum that packed, and with all ages. Here's the Inquirer's Stephan Salisbury's smart piece on the continuing allure of the tortured artist.
How Philly Moves, the largest and most complicated project ever attempted by the audaciously ambitious Philadelphia Mural Arts Program celebrated its official unveiling Wednesday night with the 37-year-old department's most unusual dedication ever: A raucous dance party on the sixth floor of Garage F at Philadelphia International Airport.
The horn-blasters from the West Philly Orchestra were there getting their groove on. So was the only drum line I've ever seen featuring a woman shaking a tambourine with a baby strapped to her body. (The infant wore noise-canceling earphones, should you be inclined to judge. Smiled the whole time.)
Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, who conjured up the two-year, $500,000 "gateway" mural while stuck in traffic, joked, "when is the last time you saw a city project start and end on time?" Mayor Nutter credited Cutler for "dreaming big," reminding the 200 guests that bold thinking is what the city "needs more of," even in tough economic times.
Still wading through emotional response to Sunday's appreciation of Frank Bender, the world's best-known forensic sculptor and a true Philadelphia treasure. Bender, 70, died last week in his home/studio on South Street. He had been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2009 and outlived his prognosticators by more than a year.
Frank devoted his life to art -- prior to solving crimes with his shockingly lifelike busts of the anonymous dead, he worked as a painter and commercial photographer. Many readers wonder whether the city might honor him in some way visuallyv.
No pressure to Jane Golden and her visionary crew at the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, but a Frank Bender mural would probably do the trick. But what? Where?
Philadelphia "guerilla knitter" Jessie Hemmons last month did one of her whimsical "yarn bombing" exploits in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
On April 2, she decked out the Rocky statue with a neon pink sweater that reads "Go See the Art." Sorry I missed the event. Sweater must have been an XXXL. The moment is reported in today's New York Times on "Graffiti's Cozy, Feminine Side."
Hemmons' sweater speaks the truth. Too few tourists, and probably residents as well, stop to snap the statue, race up the stairs, and don't venture inside. Perhaps the PMA should explore selling the sweaters at the gift shops.
The dealer who sold him the trunk contends that Langmuir knew they were extremely valuable prints when he bought them in 2002 for just $3,500. The dealer says he got conned, and has sued.
(Langmuir and his once-in-a-lifetime find were the subjects of my column two weeks ago.)
Not just Thomas Jefferson University, writes Richard Carreno in the latest Broad Street Review:
As with any Hitchcock thriller, the plot must be thickened beyond a single mere villain. Joining Jefferson as grifters are the acquisitive National Gallery of Art in Washington, Christie's auction house in New York, and too perfect to be true! a bumbling billionairess from Arkansas, the Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton. The caper's fall guys? Two of the nations premier art institutions, the Art Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy. The patsy in chief? The City of Philadelphia.
With the pending sale of Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic," WHYY seizes the moment to launch a new blog, the smartly named Sixth Square.
It's part of a full-press the public station is mounting to bring attention to Thomas Jefferson University's $68 million deal to sell the painting to the National Gallery and Wal-Mart heirs who are building a museum in Arkansas. Philadelphia has 45 days to meet the price.
The Sixth Sense writes:
Welcome to Phillyville keeps hammering away at Thomas Jefferson University, linking what other bloggers are saying about its decision to cashier Thomas Eakin's masterwork, "The Gross Clinic," for $68 million, and ship it off to the National Gallery of Art and a new museum planned by Wal-Mart heirs in Arkansas. Jefferson says it could use the money.
Here's what some bloggers wrote:
The Illadelph: "There are entire blocks in Washington Square West that are routinely devoid of activity on account of Jeffersons nightmarish planning abilities and urban vision. (Kudos to them for the recent completion of their latest big project, the massive Chestnut Street parking garage. Excellent use of real estate. Really. A bang-up job all around. Those pretty banners hanging on the side totally make all those variances it got for hundreds of extra spaces et al. totally worth it they look fantastic.)"
Frank Gehry, the architect hired to design a vast underground gallery for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is the man responsible for this extrordinary space, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
The Jack the Ripper's London effect is dry ice. I remember shooting this in mid-2001, as I was reporting a story on Black Pesetas, the hoarded currency that Spainards were spending furiously as the conversion to the Euro approached. I was helping people spent them. My wallet had just been picked.