Wednesday, October 28, 2009

THIS IS IT...for the fans!

"All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination?" - Carl Jung

One of the great ironies of Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT is made apparent near the beginning of the film: during a luminescent solo performance of Human Nature, the barrier between audience and star falls so totally, we suddenly rediscover Jackson more painfully clear than would have been possible even during the live concerts that fell eight short days from taking place.

Dance sequences that unfold in chronological order (both in the sequence they were arranged, and in terms of physical production) never reach the point of full dress rehearsal, but are made all the more powerful by their sense of inertia. One can literally see each number progressing from concept in Jackson's head to full-blown (some might say overblown) execution. It is also clear from the outset that Jackson, for all of his quirks and whims, is in charge. No shrinking violet, he is firm yet curiously approachable. One laughs at the squirm-factor in watching his choreographer, music director, etc. gingerly approach him when they have questions. And at times Jackson too is struggling for the answers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Joseph Jackson: 1958 - 2009

Oil Painting by me, 1989
Oil Painting by me, 1989
It's been said repeatedly the past few weeks that the deaths of famous people "come in threes." In truth, fame is relative and death visits the well known and the obscure with equal indiscretion and finality. In the last several years however, there have been three celebrity passings of note which managed to move me to tears. The common denominator stringing them together was the measure of joy they brought me in my formative years.

They were my heroes.

In 2003, I was first saddened to learn of the death of Fred Rogers, whose television show was an absolute fixture of my early childhood. He was 74 and had been suffering from cancer; as such, his passing was not unexpected. Still, I remember the pang I felt knowing that such a kind soul was no longer sharing this world with us. But his gentle wisdom lives on.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


THIS YEAR IT occurs to me that although I was blessed with a high concentration of motherly love over the years - something that continues even now - it comes from more than one source. I tend to already consider myself an amalgamation of the best parts of the best people who have entered my life, but it's worth noting that there are people who have contributed to certain areas in specific ways.

I'm talking about the people who have nurtured me and taught me the best ways to nurture others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


My friends, I'd like to share with you all a project that I've most recently participated in and hope that you'll find to be fun. Whether you're a Pittsburgh-area resident, artist, both or neither, I think you'll like this.

The ToonSeum (located at the Children's Museum) has published NORTH: A Graphic Guide to Pittsburgh's North Side, a new comic-book visitors guide to numerous places of interest in - you guessed it - the North Side. Illustrated by a bunch of local cartoonists, illustrators and graphic artists (yes, including me!), it's a wonderful fusion of talent and vison. I just love it, and can't see how a city resident wouldn't do the same.

NORTH was conceived by Joe Wos (Founder & Executive Director of the Toonseum), edited by Harold Behar (of local marketing/design firm Behar-Fingal), and made possible by funding from The Grable Foundation as part of The Charm Bracelet Project Fund. The list of contributors brought a smile to my face when I first learned of them: Ed Piskor, Pat Lewis, Jim Rugg, Rob Rogers, and Scott Hedlund to name a few.