The Eyes Have It

“No one can lie, no one can hide anything, when he looks directly into someone’s eyes.”
- Paulo Coelho 



Can you identify these posters by their eyes alone? Many iconic shows have taken to marketing themselves through a glimpse into the eyes of some of their shows’ central figures. A quick glance is all it takes to offer a memorable portrait of what lies ahead for the audience.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 

To Know Where You’re Going, It Helps to Know Where You’ve Been

The recently published Presidential Campaign Posters: Two Hundred Years of Election Art highlights the imagery that has helped to shape American political opinion for the past couple hundred years.

1856: James Buchanan (Democrat) v. James Fremont (Republican) v. Millard Fillmore (American)

1864: Abraham Lincoln (Republican) v. George B. McClellan (Democrat)

1872: Ulysses S. Grant (Republican) v. Horace Greeley (Liberal Republican)


1924: Calvin Coolidge (Republican) v. John Davis (Democrat) v. Robert La Follette (Progressive)

1928: Herbert Hoover (Republican) v. Al Smith (Democrat)


1968: Richard M. Nixon (Republican) v. Hubert Humphrey (Democrat) v. George Wallace (Independent)

1972: Richard M. Nixon (Republican) v. George McGovern (Democrat)

1980: Ronald Reagan (Republican) v. Jimmy Carter (Democrat) v. John Anderson (Independent)

2008: Barack Obama (Democrat) v. John McCain (Republican)

NPR media reporter Brooke Gladstone lends her voice to the book’s introduction and offers “Political art is nothing less than an illustration of the skirmishes and stalemates that created and continue to animate the American experiment. As you look at each poster and read about each campaign, it becomes increasingly clear that the tug of war over taxes and trade, the distribution of wealth and power, and the role of government itself, will never end.”

All old will again be made new. And while our war of ideologies may continue to define the American way for the foreseeable future, it does not mean that we should dismiss efforts to make this country better - no matter how many years that endeavor takes. Because growth is a constant process, not one we can absolve ourselves from as we try to stall in neutral.

May we embrace the changes that lay ahead, and may we continue to learn from past stumblings.

Fame’s No Easy Substitute For Love

And you, who knows me better than all, a touch is all it takes. 

Our communion has been treasure enough, but oh, to have this promise.

“But how, with all this light?”
“Can’t you see the constellations?”

Their eyes like our eyes, darling. 

He’s not the only one who waits for you.

Another season gone by. The crown you said you didn’t crave keeps you from us here. 

Words are fleeting, love. What’s left are memories.

Image Sources: 1, 2,34&5,  6, 7, 8
Visual storytelling for Rachel and Andrew Jackson à la Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

World’s A Stage: Spotlight on New Zealand

Because you can’t take me anywhere without me clambering to check out a show, New Zealand has become the next stop on our global theatre tour.

The day before I left for the trip, I scoured the theatre results in Wellington until I happened upon the title “Chekhov in Hell.” Intrigued, it only took a quick description to sell me on a Saturday night ticket:

“Anton Chekhov, playwright, author and pitiless observer of Russian society, awakes from a hundred-year coma and finds himself in twenty-first century London”

That, and the promo photos:

This show at the Circa Theatre, one of the seven professional venues in New Zealand, takes a careful lens to our modern day habits. Illuminating without criticising, it asks the audience to consider how we may be inhibiting our lives by trying to add more to them. Obviously this applies to the technoaddiction many face, but the more interesting discussions were those of gastronomy and fashion.

Chekhov tries to get a bite to eat at a restaurant and is presented with an assortment of molecular gastronomy “delights” and deconstructed food items. The chef seems stunned when the Russian passes on a dish of chicken sashimi. And while this plate of raw chicken is a hyperbole on what’s found in mod restaurants nowadays, it still begs the question of where to draw the line between food that’s an elevated art form, and food that’s simply no longer food.

The show’s playwright shows a bit more teeth during Chekhov’s encounter with the high-class fashion world. A designer invents sexist outfits on the spot for some of his models as Chekhov stands by and wonders aloud how he gets them to adopt such trends. The designer launches into a self-assured monologue about how he can suggest a look, and consumers will lap it up. Further, he suggests that people like being told what to do, making them easily dominable as very few want to take authority over their own lives.

The play itself had some very thoughtful moments and the show does not offer any prescriptions in its prose. Leaving the audience to decide for themselves whether our modern ways are inevitable, worth amending, or simply not up to Chekhov’s standards.

While I left wishing could hear more from Chekhov, this show still makes anachronism undeniably hip.

Image Credit: Circa Theatre

The Best Onstage Cameo of All Time

In the midst of all the SOPA and Protect IP madness, I figured I would share a lil’ video pick-me-up to help you manage with the otherwise harrowing news about the future of the interwebs.

Ellen DeGeneres makes her Broadway debut in the most recent revival of Promises, Promises. While this was her first time on the Great White Way, I hope it’s not her last.