‘Paint the Revolution’ Offers Mexican Muralist Muscle and Delicate Beauty


Diego Rivera’s “Liberation of the Peon” (1931), in “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Credit 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art


PHILADELPHIA — Politics or beauty? Take your choice. Conventional wisdom says they don’t mix. But “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art argues, with reservations, otherwise. The show is the first all-out attempt in the United States in seven decades to grapple with the contradictions of early-20th-century Mexican political art. (The last one was also at this museum.) It has plenty of pumped muralist muscle — all those clenched fists — but offsets it with pictures as pretty as valentines.

Organized with the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, where it will travel in February, the show focuses on pioneers of the Mexican movement for artistic nationalism, following the timeline of revolutionary events. In 1911, the country’s longtime president, Porfirio Díaz, was chased out of office. He had kept peace for decades by pampering the elite, enriching the army, and treating the poor, which meant practically everyone else, like dirt. Finally, dirt said no, and everything changed, including art.

The initial changes look mild. Under Díaz, European cultural taste prevailed, and after he was gone it still did for awhile, though with infusions of Mexican flavor, mexicanidad. You see it in soft-textured paintings of peasants by Saturnino Herrán and the young David Alfaro Siqueiros from around 1913, though the pictures give no hint of the violence tearing the country apart as rebel leaders like Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa fought for control of it.

Soon, however, art did reflect events. In 1914, Francisco Goitia was turning out horror-show scenes of atrocities that he said he had seen on battlefields. José Clemente Orozco tried to outdo Goya in grotesque newspaper cartoons. Diego Rivera weighed in, long-distance, from Paris, with Mexican-accented Cubism. And Gerardo Murillo, the avant-gardist firebrand from the Díaz years who called himself Dr. Atl, took a dramatic nationalist stand with a self-portrait in which his head and an image of Mexico’s most active volcano merge.

By 1921, the carnage had pretty much stopped. It was time to mop up and organize, to turn revolution from a passing event into an institution. Art was very much part of the plan. Mural painting, billboard-big and bold, was designated the official art form. And three artist-workers — Orozco, Siqueiros, and Rivera (back from Paris that year) — were its stars.


Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States” (1932). Credit 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Colección Maria y Manuel Reyero, New York

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~

The World’s Largest Salt Flat, Set To A Celestial Score ~ I’ve spent a bit of time in this area of Bolivia climbing some peaks ~ increíble


~~~  WATCH  ~~~

It’s hard to imagine a more desolate, soul-crushing landscape than the great salt flats in Bolivia. The Salar de Uyuni stretch as far as the eye can see for thousands of square miles, with nothing to disturb the horizon but a vast layer of salt several feet thick. It’s like a surreal, alien planet completely incapable of supporting any life.

This is the unimaginable backdrop for a breathtaking new video for Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie’s drifting ambient piece “The Few Of Us Left.” Wiltzie, best known for his work in Stars Of The Lid and A Winged Victory For The Sullen, named the song after the impoverished people who spend their days laboring on the great flats, scooping shovelfuls of salt into mounds to sell. There aren’t many of them left because the Bolivian government is tearing up the flats to mine the infinitely more valuable lithium recently discovered below the salt.

A new documentary, Salero, profiles the remaining salt harvesters and their struggle to hold on. Wiltzie provided the deeply moving score for the film, which includes “The Few Of Us Left.” The video for the song is a compilation of scenes from the film, beautifully edited together by Marina Katz.

“I have always said that composing music is infinitely easier when you have beautiful images to be inspired by,” Wiltzie tells NPR Music in an email. “I was fascinated by this mythical space and its ability to define the identities of the people who live in its vicinity, where this vast salt flat itself would be a central character.”

Salero was directed by Mike Plunkett. “I gravitated towards Adam’s music early in the process of making Salero,” he tells NPR Music. “His score is an elegant blend of haunting, otherworldly tones, and emotional, bittersweet swells. It captures the complex character of the Salar, and it elevates the film’s emotional journey.”

The film Salero is out Dec. 1, while Wiltzie’s complete soundtrack is due out Nov. 11.


Kiitella Project: Colorado Mountain Club Recognition Medals



Kiitella’s handcrafted medallions are awarded to the “Colorado Young Climber of the Year” and the “Colorado Aspiring Mountaineer of the Year” at Colorado Mountain Club’s 24th Annual Backcountry Bash 2016. (Get your tickets!) Jet-cut steel silhouettes CMC’s mountain logo and winner names are hand-stamped and riveted in classic Kiitella style.

Donald Trump’s campaign has spent more on those goofy hats than on polling.


I don’t think there’s a data point that better captures the weirdness of this presidential election cycle than the following:

According to the Federal Election Commission filings, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has spent $1.8 million on polling from June 2015 through September of this year (the most recent month for which data are available). The report also lists $3.2 million spent on hats.

Someone Took a Sledgehammer to Donald Trump’s Walk of Shame Star This Morning


OCT 26, 2016 ~ ESQUIRE

Because he is an Everyday American who will fight against know-it-all coastal elites, Donald Trump has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This star has been the site of various protests since he launched what has become the most divisive presidential campaign in generations. At one point, someone drew a reverse swastika over it, and an artist built a mini border wall around his square on the sidewalk.


But early this morning, someone decided artsy gestures weren’t enough. So they went after Trump’s star with a sledgehammer.

According to Deadline.com, a man in a construction worker outfit went by the spot on Hollywood Boulevard around 5:45 a.m. and gave the “terrazzo and brass” mini-mural the business. Incredibly, the perpetrator, Jamie Otis, was more than happy to discuss his deeds with Deadline, saying he originally intended to remove the star and auction it off, with the intent of giving the proceeds to the women accusing the Republican nominee of sexual assault. When his removal effort failed, Otis just smashed the thing to pieces instead.


Earlier this month, Time magazine interviewed a photographer who has been documenting people’s reactions to the star. The photographer’s images included ones showing the symbol smeared with what appears to be ketchup and adorned with a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.

Even when visitors do not try to deface the star, they sometimes use it to express their feelings toward the Republican nominee, like a young man who posed with both middle fingers extended above the star in this Instagram photo.

The spot near the Dolby Theater and the Jimmy Kimmel Live! studio is absurdly crowded during the day, but in the pre-dawn hours, it was largely deserted as Otis went to work. Trump received the star in 2007 for his work firing people on The Apprentice, and based on new revelations about how his mind works, it may well have been his proudest moment on Earth.

This one’s gotta hurt.

Muji Hut Launches With 3 New Tiny Prefab Homes

Earlier this week at Tokyo’s annual Design Touch event, the well-loved Japanese “no-brand” purveyor of furniture and home goods launched a new line of prefab micro-homes, called Muji Hut. Take a look inside the three debut models designed by Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison, and Naoto Fukasawa.

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 9.32.41 AM.png

~~~  CHECK THEM OUT  ~~~

‘You are fascinated with sex’: That Megyn Kelly-Newt Gingrich showdown was one for the ages ~ GOT TO WATCH THIS BUFFOON (GINGRICH)

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 9.10.04 AM.png

~~~  READ MORE ~ WATCH  ~~~

There are times when words do not do complete justice to a moment. Tuesday night’s Newt Gingrich-Megyn Kelly showdown is one of those times, which is why we’ve included the clip above of its final moments. (Here’s the full interview, from the top.)

Gingrich, on Fox in his role as a Donald Trump surrogate, had questioned the stories of women who’ve come forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault — and the relative importance of the controversy itself, relative to Hillary Clinton’s alleged misdeeds.

Kelly pushed back. “As a media story, we don’t get to say that 10 women are lying. We have to cover that story, sir,” said the Fox anchor.

“Sure. Okay,” Gingrich said. “So, so it’s worth 23 minutes of the three networks to cover that story, and Hillary Clinton had a secret speech in Brazil to a bank that pays her 225,000 [dollars], saying her dream is an open border where 600 million people could come to America — that’s not worth covering …”

“That is worth covering,” interjected Kelly. “And we did.”

Gingrich was still speaking: “ … I mean, you want to go back through the tapes of your show recently, you are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy.”

‘CRAZIES ON THE BORDER’ Rōbert ~ What A Reporter Learned When He Infiltrated An Arizona Militia Group


Members of the Three Percent United Patriots assemble in Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico border. It is one of about 275 militia groups in the U.S.
Shane Bauer/Courtesy of Mother Jones



Along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, armed groups on patrol — mostly men — look for illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. They’re not U.S. Border Patrol, but regular people who’ve decided to take matters into their own hands.

They call themselves militias. Groups such as these have been around for decades, but they exploded in number after Barack Obama was elected president. Today, there are 276 militia groups around the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Shane Bauer, a reporter with Mother Jones magazine, went undercover with one of those groups — the Three Percent United Patriots — on one of their operations in southern Arizona.

“They didn’t know that I was a journalist,” Bauer tells NPR’s Kelly McEvers. “I didn’t lie to them, but I was just there as another militia member, so they’re all being very frank around me.”

Interview Highlights

Describe the organization you infiltrated. What is their goal?

What they say to each other is that they are looking for drug cartels. That’s also their public statement about what they’re doing. … Some of these guys, when they roll out of the guarded, armed camp, they’re really amped up. They’re going out at nighttime with night vision, and guys are talking about hunting Mexicans. It feels like going to war. Their stated goal is to find people and report them to the Border Patrol.

Tell us about some of the people you met there — particularly the guy who went by the name Iceman.

A good number of them are military veterans. Some had done multiple tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, there was one sniper who was there. Some of them are just people that lived in the suburbs, kind of working class, mostly white men.

Iceman is a guy from Aurora, Colo., had been in the Marines in Afghanistan. He was struggling to hold jobs, to get good jobs. He had a child who had health problems, seemed generally kind of alienated. And, when he left the Marines, he ended up looking for militias to join and he found the Three Percent United Patriots and joined up.

When we’re out in the wilds of Arizona, rolling around in a pickup truck, armed to the teeth, he said, “This reminds me of Afghanistan,” and he was very frank about it. For him, this was therapy.

~~~  READ/LISTEN  ~~~

Antarctica’s Ice Sheets Are Melting Faster — And From Beneath


This image taken in 2012 shows part of the Crosson Ice Shelf (center left) and Mount Murphy (foreground) on the western edge of Antarctica. Thwaites Ice Shelf lies beyond the highly fractured expanse of ice (center).
John Sonntag/Nature



Antarctica’s ice has been melting, most likely because of a warming climate. Now, newly published research shows the rate of melting appears to be accelerating.

Antarctica is bigger than the U.S. and Mexico combined, and it’s covered in deep ice — more than a mile deep in some places. Most of the ice sits on bedrock, but it slowly flows off the continent’s edges. Along the western edge, giant glaciers creep down toward the sea. Where they meet the ocean, they form ice shelves.

The shelves are the specialty of Ala Khazendar, a geophysicist and polar expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

“You have this floating plate of ice being fed by the glaciers flowing from the interior of the continent,” he says, “while having ocean water underneath it.” He calls the shelves “the gates of Antarctica.”

Although the shelves float, they’re still connected to the mainland. The point at which the ice shelf is no longer supported by bedrock is called the “grounding line.”

A team from JPL has been studying that grounding line in several places along the edge of the West Antarctic ice sheet. They used radar to look beneath the ice. In particular, overflights have targeted ice shelves along the West Antarctic ice sheet known as the Amundsen Sea Embayment.

They’ve found that the ice is melting faster than they’ve ever seen. The researchers believe the cause is warm water circulating beneath the ice shelf. The melting was most pronounced from 2002 to 2009. (The influx of warmer water to the region stalled recently, and the rate of melting seems to have slowed somewhat.)

Khazendar says the more the bottom of the shelves melt, the more ice is exposed to warm water. “It becomes a runaway process,” he explains, “which makes it unstable.”

Where’s the warmer water coming from? The team, whose findings appear in the journal Nature Communications, points to global warming that’s heating up the oceans. There’s been a spate of research lately showing that Antarctic ice is melting faster than previously thought — and raising global sea levels.

Khazendar says the melting process appears to be irreversible. Polar scientists fear that at some point, the shelves will collapse and Antarctica’s glaciers will flow into the sea. As to whether and when that might happen?

“The simple answer is we don’t know. And that’s the scary part,” Khazendar says.