Magritte Connects Art with Technology

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Magritte Connects Art with Technology

After we attended an exhibit at the SF MOMA of Belgian Surrealist artist René Magritte, I wanted to write a story about this remarkable artist, but there were other more pressing stories to share with you.  Nevertheless, on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018, there was an article in the SF Chronicle, in the Datebook section titled, “Virtual surreality”, written by Sophie Haigney, which I considered as a sign.  Then I noticed another article, at the top of my pile of articles that I keep for future writing titled, “Getting surreal”, written by Charles Desmarais, which appeared in the SF Chronicle on May 19th, 2018. You can read both articles, however a better idea is to see the “Rene Magritte: The Fifth Season” exhibit, which is going to be at the SF MOMA until October 28, 2018.

I was familiar with Magritte’s work, especially the images of the man with black hat, but I was curious to learn about the meaning of surrealism.  According to dictionary.com, “it is a movement in art and literature that flourished in the early twentieth century.  Surrealism is aimed at expressing imaginative dreams and visions free from rational control.  Salvador Dali was an influential surrealist painter; Jean Cocteau was a master of surreal film”.  You probably are familiar with Dali’s bended clocks, but have you seen Jean Cocteau’s movies?  I had not. Nevertheless, seeing Magritte’s work inspired me.  When I googled “surrealism photography”, the list of the top surrealist photographers like Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, André Breton and others popped-up. They are all some of my favorite master photographers.  They created their work long before technology like Photoshop was even dreamed about.

What is remarkable about Magritte’s exhibit (besides the works of a true master) is the Interpretive Gallery, which lets visitors play with the artist’s work.  It has “six augmented reality interactions”, created with cutting-edge technology.  It includes 130-feet of fiber-optic cable, four windows, six Samsung screens, six stereo cameras and more.  It seems that the technology of the twenty-first century has augmented our perception of how to define art.  Perhaps it attracts a younger generation to come to the museums, and to see other art forms.  When I will return to the museum to experience the Magritte show again, I will skip the technology show.

P.S. One day after I will master Photoshop, I will create my own surreal images. Until then, please enjoy these photos of art lovers, who came to see the Magritte exhibit.

My not surreal book, “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” is going to be available at the end of July. Please pre-order at encounterspublishing.com.

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Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

What Did London Breed Do After The Election?

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What Did London Breed
Do After The Election?

The answer to this question came from the article, “The mayor-elect pauses to reflect”, which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, June 17th, 2018. During the interview she was asked:

Q. “Right after election day, you were out of pocket for a few days: Where did you go and what did you do?
A. Oh, my God, I don’t want everyone to know that.
Q. Our readers want to know.
A. I did go to Cabo, and I didn’t do anything, I went to take a vacation where I didn’t do anything. I tried not to think about 4 o’clock, the (daily) vote count. (Laughs) You know, relaxing is hard work… I didn’t take my phone with me. If I had, it would not have been a real vacation.”

When this interview was published I was reading a book, “Rest” written by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. The book starts with a quote from another book titled, “Gospel of Relaxation” written by William James. In the book “He argued that Americans had become accustomed to overwork, to living with an “inner panting and expectancy” and bringing “breathlessness and tension” to work. Americans wore stress and overwork like fancy jewelry, they internalized bad habits caught from the social atmosphere, kept by tradition, and idealized by many as the admirable way of life”. He also pointed out that overwork is counterproductive. If “living excitedly and hurriedly would only enable us to do more”, he said, then there “would be some compensation, some excuse for going on so. But the exact reverse is the case.”

Can you relate to this description of the Americans lifestyle? Well, this book was written in 1899. No, there is no typo. And you thought that things have changed in the last 118 years? In two parts “Rest” covers subjects like Four Hours, Morning Routine, Walk, Nap, Shop, Sleep, Recovery, Exercise, Deep Play, and Sabbaticals.

I was surprised to find out that many very accomplished people like Charles Dickens and Ingmar Bergman “spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their important work. The rest of time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking.” Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements resulted from modest “working hours”.
How many hours do you work and rest?

P.S.

I have a confession to make. I do work long hours. Usually my day starts at about 6am. My work in the office ends after 6pm. Then after having dinner, I usually write until 10pm. Having a puppy brought some change in our lives. I walk with Max three times a day and then we play, after which he rests, as all dogs do. Here are four images of resting dogs that I have photographed in different parts of the world. My book “42 Encounters with Dog lovers” finally went in to print. I will let you know next week when you can have it. Meanwhile, please pre-order at www.encounterspublishing.com.

Enjoy and Share.

 

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With a Friend!

Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Can You Enter Same River Twice?

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Can You Enter Same River Twice?

You may have heard the saying – first proclaimed by Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher born in 544 B.C., “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

I thought about this during the last week when I was considering whether to go out to photograph the colorful crowd during the events which started last Friday and took place in different locations throughout San Francisco, and culminated with the LGBT’s Pride Parade on Sunday on Market Street. Two years ago, I went to all of those spectacles and you can see some of the images on my website. This time I decided to skip the event since it seemed that I have already “stepped in this river” before. On Sunday I had to drive close to the downtown area. For the convenience of parking, I took my wife’s Smart Car.

While there, at the spur of the moment, I decided to try to get closer to Market Street. Since the car is very small, I managed to park it on 9thstreet, close to Mission Street (her license plate says Parkable).

This year, the LGBT’s Pride Parade celebrated their 48thanniversary. The parade started at 10:30AM, and over the next five hours, there were at least 50,000 participants, and according to the organizers, about one million people gathered at Civic Center Plaza, after the parade.

Just a reminder, according to the 2016 Census, San Francisco’s population was 870,887, and out of them the LGBT community is about 6.2%, according to a count published in March, 2015. You do not have to be a mathematician to realize that all of those “extra” people arrived here from somewhere else, and many came here just to have a good time. This event has also become popular among corporations.

Despite San Francisco’s reputation as the birthplace for the Gay rights movements, the Pride Parade actually started on June 28, 1969, in New York. In many countries around the world, May 17 had been officially labeled the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

I found all of this trivia on the web, and the reason I am sharing it with you, this event is part of our city’s colorful life, which draws a lot of people who contribute to everyone’s wellbeing, regardless of anyone’s sexual orientation.

P.S – There are a lot of images and videos onlinefrom this year’s parade. My four images are just to make a point that the last time I photographed different people (and different dogs), I was definitely a different person. It was before my book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” was even in my head, which you can pre-order now at www.encounterspublishing.com

Enjoy and share.

 

Do Not Keep Me As A Secret!
Smile and Please Share It
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Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Who Was John Hays McLaren?

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Who Was John Hays McLaren?

It was a while since I shared with you some of my discoveries in our great city of San Francisco. I heard about John McLaren Park from a friend. She recently got a puppy from a shelter and takes him there for walks, which is close to where she lives. In spite of the fact that it is the second largest park (or third, if counting Presidio Park) in San Francisco and is located only 2.5 miles from our house, which is closer than Golden Gate Park, and which was developed by the John McLaren, we never visited the park which carries his name.

Online I learned some very interesting history about the park, and why it is less known and not as popular as other parks in San Francisco – One reason perhaps is its location. The park is surrounded by the Excelsior, Crocker-Amazon, Visitacion Valley and Portola. These are mostly blue collar neighborhoods.

When I drove through it, we ended up in the Projects, and I was not surprised to find out that McLaren Park had a checkered reputation as a dumping ground for bodies and generally, it was a dangerous place in the 1980’s and 1990’s, with numerous crimes threatening visitors safety. I suspect that conditions in the park improved, perhaps because of the discouragement of visitors, the park boosts the largest grasslands left in San Francisco. This is not the only thing that makes this place unique. Even in San Francisco, a city considered hilly, McLaren Park stands out with some of the hilliest terrain in the city, which naturally lends to incredible views of the entire city.

Driving through it in every direction in the early afternoon, I was thinking that I should return before sunrise and at sunset to photograph the beautiful vistas.

Every park has a story and the people who created them. Though Dr. John Hays McLaren was not directly involved with the park, which carries his name, his contribution for our city is immeasurable.

He emigrated from Scotland, where he became a horticulturist to the United States in 1870,. He used his skills and tenacity and for 53years served as Superintendent of Golden Gate Park. Together with his friend John Muir, he dedicated his life to rigorous advocacy and development of one of the largest public parks in the world. One of John McLaren’s stipulations before his Superintendent job in 1887 was, there would be no “Keep off the Grass” signs. He built two windmills (which are familiar to anyone who has visited the park) to pump water into the park. He is also credited with planting two million trees during his lifetime. He did not only contribute to the park designs in San Francisco.

One of them is Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon, which we enjoy every time we travel there for the Oregon – Shakespeare Festival – John McLaren died at the age of 96 in 1943. During his life, he was honored and many places in San Francisco city carry his name. However, in spite of his great contribution, I suspect not many people know who he was. It is about time we visit his small statue in Golden Gate Park to express our gratitude.

P.S – When we visited John McLaren Park we stumbled into a small man made body of water, which turned out to be a popular place for dogs, like Labradors who like to swim. Though Max is a Labradoodle, he only came close enough to the water to drink it. These four images only tell a small story, the rest is up to you to discover.

I just received first printed copies of my book. Here is one of the first reviews.

“I enjoyed every story and every photo. The first forty-two days of Max’s puppyhood with Manny Kagan and his wife, told in short essays opposite real life photos of dogs with dogs lovers, gives 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers the authentic expression of the love of dogs. Manny Kagan’s 42 Encounters with Lovers is uplifting, touching, and fun to read. I give it the highest rating of five stars”

The book is going to be available for sale in a month.
Please pre-order through www.encounterspublishing.com.

Thanks,
Enjoy and Share

 

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Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

History Does Matter

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History Does Matter

On our trip to Montana which I have written about over the last three weeks, I watched a TV documentary about an African American family whose parents were from Jamaica. While the father was of African descent, the mother was Chinese. However, because their children have dark skin, and the family grew up in Harlem, they were considered Black not Chinese. In the Jewish Orthodox tradition, if the mother is Jewish, regardless of the color of her skin, the children are considered Jewish (some Jews follow the tradition where religion or race is defined by the father’s lineage.

I am bringing this up because we made some friends in Montana, who have an interesting racial mix. The wife is of Scandinavian descent, while her husband is the product of a mixed marriage, with twist on his heritage.

His father came from Estonia, a small country on the Baltic coast bordering Latvia, where I was born. His mother was born in Turkey, from Jewish parents. Jews are divided into two ethnic groups – Ashkenazi who are usually of northern and eastern European descent and Sephardim, who are originally from Sepharad-Spain.

In 1942, the Jews who were not forcefully converted into Christianity were expelled from Spain. Many of them ended up in Portugal, only to be expelled again five years later. Some travelled to Turkey, which in the 15thCentury was part of the Ottoman Empire.

This information has a direct connection with today’s world and our friends. 500 years after the expulsion, Spain and Portugal offered citizenship to the descendants of the Sephardic Jews, which included our friend’s mother, her son and her grand-daughter. This in turn offers an opportunity for one to get Spanish or Portuguese citizenship (The U.S allows dual citizenship), and since those countries are part of the European Union (The E.U.), their daughter, who likes to travel, can get a free college education in any of the European countries in the European Union, after receiving her Spanish citizenship.

Throughout history people have moved from country to country and by intermarrying, created new pools of DNA. This in turn can help to establish historical relevance for many families and perhaps a better understanding and tolerance of each other. Among dogs, mixed breeds are called mutts. Some consider mutts to be smarter than pure breeds. How about people?

P.S – Next week I will write about a dog shelter in San Francisco for senior dogs, called Matville. Meanwhile, enjoy these four images of mutts, and pre-order “42 Encounters for Dog Lovers” from www.encounterspublishing.com. Money back guaranteed.

 

Do Not Keep Me As A Secret!
Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!

Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature