Archive for August, 2009

What happens when you mix the King of Pop with the King of Pop Art? The answer is Andy Warhol’s 1984 portrait of Michael Jackson, which will hit the New York auction block later this month. The bidding will start at $840,000, but since both Jackson and Warhol are dead, the piece is expected to sell for much, much more. “We estimate this painting, created in 1984, will sell for $1 million to $10 million,” said Ruth Vered, owner of the Vered Gallery, which will be selling the portrait.

How much do you think it’s worth?

Andy Warhol's 26-by-30-inch painting of Michael Jackson, now at a gallery in The Hamptons, celebrates the success of "Thriller"

Time Magazine commissioned Warhol to do the painting after the record-breaking sales of Jackson’s album Thriller.

Studio 360’s most recent episode explores the life and work of Warhol. You can hear all about Warhol’s relationship with The Velvet Underground and more rock stars, past and present.

-Kelly Sullan


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Like most people, I wanted to be a magician when I grew up. I recently attended a screening of the 2007 Swedish film You, The Living (Du levande) by director Roy Andersson, a funny/sad movie made up of 50 vignettes that portray everyday life as absurd, petty, and hilarious. In the following scene, a man tries to enliven a family reunion by performing the tablecloth trick.

Which, of course, led to the question: How do you perform the tablecloth trick for real? Have I seen it performed anywhere but in cartoons? Is it even possible?

A quick YouTube search settled any doubts. Here is the answer–a small feat of classroom heroism performed by a nervous looking young man in an uncomfortable outfit.

The cheering! The vindication! The glory!

So how is it done? Could one perform this trick in defiance of one’s own imperfection and discomfort? Elsewhere on YouTube, a guru named Zanthor provides instructions. (Not recommended: searching for other videos of Zanthor. Magic’s romance quickly fades.) Looks pretty easy, actually. Too bad we don’t have any tables with right angles in the office, or I’d try it out right now. There’s even a vase full of fresh flowers within easy reach…

–Matt Frassica

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Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Paul Natkin/Getty Images

John Hughes, the director who brought us the ’80s classics “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Sixteen Candles,” passed away yesterday. Hughes was the undisputed master of the teen movie: the high school scene he depicted over twenty years ago is still imitated, never equaled. Maybe that’s because he was truly sympathetic to teens and their problems.

Of all the tributes popping up around the web this morning, this one caught my eye. Alison Byrne Fields began corresponding with Hughes as a teenager in 1985. Her first fan letter got her a signed form letter (unacceptable!) but when she wrote again and asked John to be her pen pal, he accepted.

“I’d be honored to be your pen pal. You must understand at times I won’t be able to get back to you as quickly as I might want to. If you’ll agree to be patient, I’ll be your pen pal.”

They corresponded for two years. John wrote to Alison about his life on set and his family. Alison wrote to John about boy troubles and Mrs. Garstka, her hard-to-please English teacher. Hughes cheered her up:

“As for your English teacher…Do you like the way you write? Please yourself. I’m rather fond of writing. I actually regard it as fun. Do it frequently and see if you can’t find the fun in it that I do.”

“I listen. Not to Hollywood. I listen to you. I make these movies for you. Really. No lie. There’s a difference I think you understand.”

Thanks for making high school a little easier, John Hughes.

– Annie Minoff

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It’s not every day that you see someone you know on your favorite TV show– which is why I was so psyched to see Kurt on The Colbert Report Tuesday night. Stephen Colbert talked to Kurt about his new book Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America.


Their six minute conversation is really amusing: in part because Colbert’s questions are totally absurd, and in part because it’s bizarre to see Kurt on the other side of the interview table.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Kurt Andersen | Colbert Report 05105 …“, posted with vodpod

And Colbert is on my personal Good List. When the cameras weren’t rolling he told Kurt that he listens to Studio 360 while shaving and is a big fan. Score!

– Kelly Sullan

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We were quite taken with Jill Sobule when she came into the studio for a performance chat with Kurt earlier this summer:

Jill Sobule: Please don't steal from her.

Jill Sobule: Please don't steal from her. It's for your own good.

Jill’s new record, California Years, has been getting great reviews – and she’s been hailed as a pioneer of truly independent music by getting her fans to finance the record. Still, the question she gets asked most frequently doesn’t have anything to do with the future of the music industry: everyone wants to know what she thinks of pop superstar Katy Perry. Perry cribbed the title of Jill’s 1995 single “I Kissed a Girl” and turned it into a gigantic hit. Jill’s been mum so far, until this interview that went up a few days ago on the Rumpus, where she says that she has tried very hard to be polite:

It did bug me a little bit, however, when she said she came up with the idea for the title in a dream. In truth, she wrote it with a team of professional writers and was signed by the very same guy that signed me in 1995. I have not mentioned that in interviews as I don’t want to sound bitter or petty… cause, that’s not me. Okay, maybe, if I really think about it, there were a few jealous and pissed off moments. So here goes, for the first time in an interview: F— you Katy Perry, you f—ing stupid, maybe “not good for the gays,” title thieving, haven’t heard much else, so not quite sure if you’re talented, f—ing little s–t.

Yikes! Our advice: don’t cross Jill Sobule. She might just independently finance your butt-kicking.

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