Choice Cuts by Jason Freeny

JasonFreeny

Artist Jason Freeny is my new idol. The New York based toy designer and sculptor has unlocked the key to what our children have been trying to tell us for years. Toys have a soul. It’s the only logical reason our kids seem to be able to love their Barbie Doll with the same intense passion as they do their pets. Freeny has the uncanny ability to bring blood-pumping life to our favorite childhood toys through the use of anatomy. Dissecting Barbie, Hello Kitty, Lego, Mickey Mouse and a slew of other iconic favorites to expose their inner workings, and in turn make them seem as alive (or dead) as the frog we’ve all had to dissect in science class.MLP Sig 1000

This past weekend Jason Freeny debuted his first solo show in Los Angeles entitled “Choice Cuts”.  As the name suggests, the show is a series of Freeny’s latest dissected toy sculptures. The thought of seeing My Little Pony’s entrails and Mickey Mouse’s ribcage might sound a bit disturbing at first, but one look at those sparkly cartoon eyes and sweet smiles of the toy subjects and your fear will turn to amazement. – Jill TopolHelloKittyLotso Sig1000Kewpie Door sig 1000-1

Jason Freeny Choice Cuts New Sculptural Works March 16 – April 6 2013 @ the 101 Exhibit 8920 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, Ca 90069 310 592-7980 www.101exhibit.com


Book People Unite

This past year RIF Reading is Fundamental launched their Book People Unite campaign. As the largest children’s non-profit organization in the United States, RIF provides millions of new and free books every year to poverty stricken children and families who may otherwise not even own a book.

The goal behind Book People Unite is simple. The movement helps recognize the importance of placing a book in a child’s hands, and the incredible transformation books can have on their imagination, ambition and help in overcoming obstacles.

The song Book People Unite is a collaborative effort from some of the top names in music and entertainment created to encourage people to join the cause. The track was produced by The Roots, with vocal support from Chris Martin of Coldplay, John Legend, Jack Black, Regina Spektor, Nate Ruess of Fun, Jason Schwartzman, Consequence, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Levar Burton, Melanie Fiona and Carrie Brownstein from IFC’s Portlandia. The jaw-droppingly beautiful video featuring a who’s who of literary characters was created by Mother New York.

Thanks to the thousands of people who have helped rally the importance of children’s literacy, Book People Unite has provided over 2 million new books in 2012 alone, including 250,000 books to children nationwide right before the holidays, and donations to our smallest victims affected by Hurricane Sandy. “One book can be the fundamental thing that helps to change a life. Book People Unite.” – Jill Topol

Interested in joining the cause? www.bookpeopleunite.org


A Toy Train in Space

This is the story about a father who sent his son’s favorite toy train Stanley into space. Strapped to a weather balloon with an HD camera and an old cell phone used as a GPS, Ron Fugelseth was able to capture Stanley’s amazing voyage which reached 18 miles high over the clouds. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field. This touching video documents his journey from liftoff to landing. – Jill Topol

 

 


Crayola Crayon Sculpture by Diem Chau

Sometimes something so beautiful can come from the smallest, most simple of things. Artist Diem Chau carves common children’s crayons and transforms them into characters with personality and wit, all with their own story to tell.

It’s hard to comprehend how Chau brings to life these minuscule inanimate objects that we normally associate with filling in the pages of a coloring book, but somehow Chau makes it work. Not only are her crayon masterpieces meticulously carved, but she also manages to evoke emotion to each Crayola character.

Chau’s miniature works of art have been featured in gallery exhibitions all over the country. She can also be commissioned for personalized crayon sculptures upon request. Jill Topol

www.diemchau.com

You can also follow Diem Chau’s blog @ http://tinyhaus.blogspot.com/


Dora The Explorer Movie Trailer (with “Modern Family’s” Ariel Winter)

dora-the-explorer-movie-trailer-with-ariel-winter

It’s so funny how there are all these kid friendly movies out right now that my son Max keeps begging me to take him to. My response is almost always the same; “That would be a great movie for you to see with Daddy!”

Since I’m the more cool and collected parent, I end up dealing with most of the tears and drama that come along with raising a 4-year-old. I feel it’s only fair in return that my husband be forced to suffer through an hour and a half of a lame cartoon where the highlight of the movie is a zebra in a clown wig singing “Afro Circus”. I’d rather be poked with needles in my eyes or handle a temper tantrum over that any day.

This morning I came across a fake movie trailer on The Huffington Post that I only wish to God was real! Dora The Explorer is brought to life in a new mock movie trailer by the comedic gurus at College Humor.

Dora, who is played by “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter as the badass explorer who with the help of her real life monkey friend Boots, a sexy bare-chested Diego and her trusty knapsack “Back Pack” (who kind of resembles a modern day Kit from Knight Rider) are sent on a mission to recover “The Infinity Orb”.

While I am well aware that this trailer is not for a real movie, it should be. I have nothing bad to say about the classic Nickelodeon version of “Dora the Explorer”, or as I like to say “Explora” for actual rhyming purposes. She babysits Max in front of the TV almost every morning while I get dressed and make breakfast. Plus he’s learned a few Spanish words in the process. Not bad for a free babysitter. I just long for the day when real kids movies spark my interest like this fake one did.

As a huge fan of Modern Family, my hats off to Ariel Winter for portraying Dora as the tough and fearless explorer that we all knew she could be. And Eric Stonestreet (Cam on “Modern Family”) if you’re listening, I think you’d make a killer SpongeBob SquarePants! I’m just sayin’. – Jill Topol


Oh, You Beautiful Doll

As delicate as porcelain, Co Pirate’s handcrafted paper dolls are truly a work of art. This French DIY trio lovingly creates each one of their unusual “Poupée Papier” by hand. Just like a snowflake, no two are exactly alike. While they may not have the classic beauty of Barbie, their bizarre and awkward charm makes them way cooler. Jill Topol

http://viaa.fr/copirates/ 55.00 euros (approximately $69.00)


Adam Ant Saved My Life

We all have defining moments in our lives that we’ll never forget. One of those moments for me was back in junior high school around 1982. I was watching MTV (which at the time actually played music videos) when a video came on for this Johnny Depp / Jack Sparrow looking guy called Adam Ant. The British rocker’s music had me in a trance like a siren luring in a sailor with their hypnotic melody. He was the most beautiful and talented man I had ever laid eyes on. I was instantly in love. Head over heels in love! From that moment forward the way I viewed life would forever be changed. Basically it was the beginning of finding my own individuality. Instead of being that pubescent little girl who blended into the crowd, I felt comfortable being a little different. Instead of automatically liking whatever Casey Kasem played on the radio, I opted for the not nearly as popular post-punk and new wave music scene. And Instead of falling prey to peer pressure to wear the latest cookie cutter trends, I opted for vintage finds and punk inspired fashions. Kids can be really mean and made fun of me. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt, but it never made me want to change a thing. I loved who I was and the fact that I was a little different. Those bullies could go f#ck themselves. By my junior year in high school a lot of those same popular girls who had made fun of me wanted to be my friend. I guess my non-conformist look and attitude had become cool. Holy sh*t! I was the latest trend!!! I’m proud to say I never befriended any of them.

Now that I have a son of my own it’s extremely important to me that he feels comfortable in his own skin just like I did. As long as he’s happy and not hurting anyone I’ll support him. Kids can be so cruel. I can’t always be there to shield him from bullies and narrow-minded peers, but I can let him know that it’s okay to be yourself and be proud of it. Not everyone has to like New Kids on the Block. It’s okay to like Adam Ant. – Jill Topol

My teen idol and imaginary husband Adam Ant. Vivienne Westwood designed all of his costumes!!!

Yes, I dressed Max up as Adam Ant one year for Halloween. All for selfish reasons and I don’t regret a thing.

Want to dress your kid like my childhood idol?

1. Stella McCartney Kids Will Military Jacket $184.00 www.stellamccartney.com

2. Little Marc Jacobs Kyle Military Jacket $115.00 www.neimanmarcus.com


I Love You Keith Haring

Back in my high school days, I was a funky new wave chick with a mad passion for art, music and fashion. To paint a clearer picture, I would have been the perfect casting choice for “the best friend” of Molly Ringwald & Duckie in the movie “Pretty in Pink”.

I remember wearing my Keith Haring pins on my denim jacket, and a limited edition Keith Haring Swatch Watch that I got as a birthday present from my grandma. I literally wore that watch everyday until it fell apart. Pop art always had a special place in my heart. The bright colors and whimsical attitude just seemed to fit in perfectly with my lifestyle. Andy Warhol was the master and Roy Lichtenstein was a genius, but growing up in the 80’s nobody could come close to Keith Haring. He was the Andy Warhol of my generation.

Throughout his career, Haring devoted much of his time to public works of art including hundreds of white chalk drawings in subway stations and painted murals throughout New York City. He also collaborated on numerous projects with the likes of Madonna, Grace Jones, Yoko Ono and his own mentor Andy Warhol. Though his images had a childlike quality, the messages behind them were anything but. They were deep and relevant to modern day issues. Touching on subjects as serious as drug abuse and AIDS.

Sadly, Haring died way too young of AIDS related complications at 31. His legacy will forever be immortalized through his art.

Last weekend I went with my husband and Max to see the Keith Haring exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit chronicles Haring’s earlier work in NYC including personal sketchbooks and preserved subway chalk drawings. It was amazing to see in person stuff I had only previously seen in books. Plus it was great to watch Max’s reactions to some of the art. Even when he pointed to one painting and started to shout “I see a penis! I see a penis!”  In his defense, he did! Plus I’m pretty sure Keith Haring would have been okay with it.

Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring: 1978-1982

March 16 through July 8, 2012

www.brooklynmuseum.org

Keith Haring 1958-1990                                               My High School Swatch Watch

Posing with Brooke Shields 1986

“Crack is Wack” 1986  Handball Court Murals on Harlem River Drive and East 128th Street,  NYC

Untitled, 1981  Enamel on fiberboard

Down in the Subway

The exact moment Max realized Keith Haring was cooler than Justin Bieber

SOME COOL KEITH HARING ITEMS YOU CAN PURCHASE:

Keith Haring Rocker $260.00 www.openingceremony.us

Keith Haring Bumpkins Superbib 3 Pack $19.95 www.diapers.com

Keith Haring IPad Case $64.00 www.patriciafield.com


DMK “Everything Counts”

Yesterday I came across one of the best music videos I’ve seen on YouTube in a very long time. It wasn’t Lady Gaga or Madonna, but a father and his 2 young kids performing a cover of Depeche Mode’s 80’s classic “Everything Counts”.

The name of the Columbia based band is DMK. Band members include Dicken Schrader and his children, 9-year-old daughter Milah and 6-year-old son Korben. The extremely handsome dad sings lead and effortlessly plays 4 musical instruments at one time including a synthesized Coke bottle.

It’s very obvious when you watch the video that this trio is talented, but it’s the love and chemistry between the father and his 2 kids that make this video so special. I seriously couldn’t stop smiling while watching them perform. I want to be adopted into their family!

The video was released in December 2011 and already has over 1 million hits.

To learn more about this extraordinary family check out their Facebook page at:  http://www.facebook.com/DMKband


The Obliteration Room

No, you’re not seeing spots before your eyes, just the latest art installation by the eccentric, polka-dot obsessed artist Yayoi Kusama. With the help of hundreds of children, the Japanese artist transformed a completely white room (including furniture) into her latest dot crazed masterpiece.

Over a two week period children who visited The Obliteration Room at The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Australia were given thousands of brightly colored stickers to place throughout the room at their own discretion. Transforming the space into a vibrant explosion of color and pattern. The installation literally comes to life with the first few placements of dots and grows as more children leave their mark on the room. There’s something so pure how a child’s mind thinks compared to an adults. Kids aren’t afraid to color outside the lines and that’s a large part of what makes The Obliteration Room such an incredible project.

A Self Portrait of “The Queen of Polka Dots” Yayoi Kusama

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art

Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever

November 19, 2011 through March 11 2012

http://qag.qld.gov.au/