Amy Poehler has it together. And ‘it’ has nothing to do with fame, money or romance even if she does have all three. You have ‘it’ when you’re happy, which means knowing and loving yourself to the fullest — two things Amy does best.
When I started her new book Yes Please, I still referred to her by her full name. But by the time I finished it, she was just Amy. It’s bizarre how close you can feel to someone you’ve never met, just by reading the stories they chose to share with the entire world. But Amy’s writing voice is so clear and simple that I can almost hear Leslie Knope’s actual voice reading her words aloud.
Amy just seems so real. In the intro she talks about how hard it is to write a book — especially one about yourself — and how implicitly conceited and painfully permanent the whole memoir-publishing process is. So down-to-earth yet somehow sharp and hilarious. Some of the memories she retells are insane celebrity-only kind of stories, but my favorites are the everyday ones. The stories that remind me of my own misadventures.
When she played Dorothy in her fourth grade’s Wizard of Oz, she discovered “on stage” meant “in charge” and improv’d for the very first time. I played Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web in the fourth grade too, but my story ended in the audience’s disappointment instead of delight. I got distracted reading backstage, missed a cue, and realized crowds are the worst and words are my home.
Sure she writes about creating Parks and Recreation and what it was like giving birth to her first son while watching the SNL episode she had rehearsed to perform in days earlier (“Laughing to Crying to Laughing”). But she writes about those things from a perspective anyone can understand. No big words, no convoluted themes, just a girl telling her stories in different ways.
The book’s three parts seem to be in loose chronological order: “Say Whatever You Want,” “Do Whatever You Like,” and “Be Whoever You Are.” “Say” begins with The Wizard of Oz and her birth story while “Be” wraps it up with Parks and Recreation, advice on Hollywood, and the unfathomable love she has for her sons.
The chronology of the three parts align on a larger scope too, with their titles — kids say whatever they want because they just found out they can, teenagers do whatever they want just to prove they can, and adults have the freedom to be whoever they are (the only problem is a lot of people get distracted by shoulds and don’t know who that is).
My favorite essay was “Plain Girl vs. the Demon.” She perfectly captures and personifies the self-doubt that wreaks havoc within all of us:
“And then one day, you go through a breakup or you can’t lose your baby weight or you look at your reflection in a soup spoon and that slimy bugger is back. It moves its sour mouth up to your ear and reminds you that you are fat and ugly and don’t deserve love.
This demon is some Stephen King from-the-sewer devil-level shit.”
Coming to the realization that the negative parts of me don’t have any real control is one of the best epiphanies I can ever remember having. And Amy Poehler knows what that feels like.
My eternal love for Breaking Bad has seeped into every part of my life. This is the final stage – blogging about Breaking Bad art.
I spend enough time on Reddit to know that there are some incredibly talented fans of the show. Each character depicted has so much emotion seeping out of them as we remember every tragic/insane event along the Walter White timeline to Heisenberg. And then whatever that guy from New Hampshire’s name is. Every work drawing from the power of the most intense show that’s ever existed, so that bright colors and sharp edges can get in your face, ASAC Schrader-style.
Iris Grace is one incredible 3-year-old. Well, technically she’s three and a half. It’s difficult for her to interact with others because she has autism, which keeps her from speaking, but she’s able to express herself through art and movement. One of her favorite things to do is paint, and the works she creates could fit right in at a gallery featuring interpretations of Monet’s Water Lilies.
Sometimes her colors get chaotic, but in every painting there’s always an overwhelming sense of balance and calm. Bright colors in watercolor and acrylic splash to fill up each canvas, and even though the works would technically be considered abstract, each feels more like a landscape, or rather a place – an abstract place where things are simple, beautiful and bright.
Her mother writes:
“Iris loves nature, water, flowers, trees, wind, books, pictures, dancing on tip toes and always carries something in her left hand.”
“Music at Sunrise”
Iris’ parents have been sharing her paintings online, raising awareness for autism and the National Autistic Society and the Autism Research Trust. Now Iris’ talent has been featured in every major UK newspaper, along with most online news resources in the US. They’ve also begun selling Iris’ originals and prints to raise funds for her treatment. From August 18th – August 29th they’ll be auctioning off her piece, “Follow the Fleet,” by email bids.
Even though everyday things are more difficult, Iris has a lasting attention span when it comes to painting, spending around two hours on each piece. When she’s in the mood to paint, she lets her parents know by pointing at her mug and brush sitting near the sink. She points to the colors she wants to use from the paints in the cupboard, and they mix the paints with water for her. She tests them out, taking them back for remixing if they’re not the right consistency. She’s even starting making her own colors, dipping her brush in multiple mugs before bringing the color to the paper.
Iris flicks and dabs the paint, using different rollers, sponges and brushes to get the effects she’s looking for. Since she can’t speak, her parents name the paintings for her, using their content or Iris’ mood as a guide.
“She used to be consumed by books, eye contact was a rare occurrence, she didn’t want to or know how to play with us, showed obsessive behaviours, got desperately distressed when we took her near any other children and her sleep patterns were all over the place,” her mom Arabella writes on her website, “She now rides on my back in fits of laughter, squealing with delight, plays, communicates by creating her own signs and her sleeping is much better.”
With the Chinese characters for “freedom” (自由) on a stamp attached to his boxing glove, Belgian artist Phil Akashi punched a wall 27,000 times to create a likeness of Nelson Mandela. He made it in tribute to the international hero, utilizing his particular brand of “seal art,” where he only uses East Asian Seals as the medium.
“I am addicted to seals, I collect seals, I paint with seals, I love seals. Creating with East Asian seals as a medium is a wonderful opportunity to tribute and to sustain a very old tradition with passion, emotion and innovation. It is also an exciting way to advance their potential with a European sensitivity.”
He used a Chinese seal and cinnabar paste for Nelson Mandela’s significance in Taoist culture. He opted for black cinnabar paste to honor Mandela’s struggle against apartheid. The painting can be found in the Shanghai Graffiti Park, surrounded by the graffiti of local street artists.
“This artwork exemplifies Nelson Mandela’s 27 years of incarceration but also symbolize his lifelong brave stand for freedom and equality. Nelson Mandela is an extraordinary artist of peace. He sacrificed his own freedom to fight for the freedom of others and therefore represents a fantastic source of inspiration for the entire world.”
Graphic designer Saul Bass would have been 93 today. The pioneering artist brought design aesthetics to film, designing the title sequences of legendary movies like Vertigo and West Side Story. He created a style that still sticks in our brains decades later.
He worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, and for more than 40 years he brought his one-of-a-kind aesthetic to the big screen. The graphics in Catch Me if You Can and Mad Men pay homage to his style and innovation.
A giant reflective structure seems to float above the platform, but it actually sits on a thick mirrored pedestal that can’t be seen until you look close enough. Titled “Mark’s House” by the London-based design studio Two Islands, the design tells the story of an imagined Flint, Michigan resident named Mark Hamilton, whose family loses a home to foreclosure. Their Tudor-style home is reborn as a flying shining mirage of what it used to be, serving as a metaphor both for what the city has lost and what it’s working to gain back again.
“Mark’s House” was among the 221 entries submitted to the Flint Public Art Project’s inaugural Flat Lot Competition, which called for designs of temporary structures that take up no more than eight parking spots, and offer support for public programs by providing a stage, shade, and cooling devices.
“Mark’s House” can hold up to 1,500 gallons of water for a cooling spray on the hottest days, and its gridded panels beneath the floating house soak up even more of the sun’s rays. In the end this multi-faceted functionality of a design illusion won the $25,000 grand prize in the Flat Lot competition, and “Mark’s House” will be the temporary summer pavilion in Flint’s downtown parking lot during Flint Art Walk, opening on June 14 and remaining until Fall.