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Archive for January 26th, 2015

frida cover

by Sam Juliano

The Mexican/American Yuyi Morales made a strong bid for last year’s Caldecott Medal with the wildly-popular Nino Wrestles the World, finally settling for the American Library Association’s Pura Belpre Award for Latino illustrators.  Her follow-up, Viva Frida,  is something diametrically opposite in theme, presentation and style, though sharp eyed fans can at least connect some visual dots.  Frida Kahlo, was the wife of famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.  She was stricken with polio at age six, a serious disease that kept her right leg crippled for the remainder of her life.  At age eighteen she was further mutilated as the result of a serious bus accident, and was forced to absorb painful medical procedures for the rest of her shortened life.  (She passed at 47 in 1954).  A natural storyteller from a young age, her youth was riotously jovial until the time she was physically compromised.  Her tumultuous marriage with Rivera brought on a dysfunctional relationship, though one dotted with the deepest of passions.  Physically, they were a study in contrasts: Rivera, strapping and rotund, Frida fragile and demure.  Their story is the centerpiece in Julie Taymor’s 2002 Frida, an appropriately episodic film that starred Selma Hayek and Alfred Molina in the leads.  Kahlo was a bi-sexual who is known to have had affairs with Josephine Baker (the subject of Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson’s Josephine, another Caldecott Medal Contender) and Leon Trotsky, the Marxist revolutionary and theorist.  Rivera is also known to have engaged in extramarital affairs, including one with his wife’s sister Cristina.  Kahlo, whose work sometimes featured Christian and Jewish themes, was a master of the self-portrait who once said:  “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am on the subject I know best.  I was born a bitch.  I was born a painter.” (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

As a monster blizzard bears down the NYC region (those in the midwest have been seeing this kind of weather right along) weather forecasts are calling for upward of two feet of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday.    Hence most of the upcoming week will be one of digging out.  I can only imagine and dread what my friend John Grant will be getting up in his West Milford area abode.  certainly snow lovers will get all their fill and way more than that.

This past week has been spent home writing the final wave of Caldecott book reviews, and recovering from the final stage of a once terrible stomach virus, and continued depression over our unconscionable loss of a few weeks ago, a loss I am still in denial over.  In a rare occurrence, no new films were seen, though this is traditionally the worst time of the year for quality openings, what with all the attention paid on the Oscar nominees.  I do look forward to the Academy Award live action and animated shorts and to the documentary shorts.

Hence I particularly look forward to hearing what others have seen or done.

 

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