NYT Photog Sergey Ponomarev’s Page One Pic Is . . . Art

The hardlooking staff has long admired the photographic skill of New York Times shutterbug Sergey Ponomarev, who dominated the paper’s 2013 Year in Pictures review.

Yesterday, though, Ponomarev outdid himself with this front-page photo.



Close up:



Man, that is one beautiful image. And he even worked in The Gherkin.


The piece by Sarah Lyall gets four – count ’em, four – pages inside with lots of other Ponomarev pix.

Here’s betting you’ll see at least one of them in the Times 2017 Year in Pictures bakeoff.

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New York Times Publishes Chinese Government Propaganda

In the run-up to yesterday’s Donald Trump-Xi Jinping hoedown at Mar-a-Lago, the New York Times ran this full-page piece of aditprop from Chinese government mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency.



(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, just because the Times took Chinese government money and ran the ad doesn’t mean the paper endorses it.

But . . .

Wouldn’t discretion have been the better part of dollar in this case?

Wethinks so.

How about you?

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MFA’s ‘Matisse in the Studio’ Gets Two WSJ Rave Reviews – And It Hasn’t Even Opened Yet

Get ready for the next Boston Museum of Fine Arts blockbuster.

Matisse in the Studio opens this Sunday, but already it’s gotten two – count ’em, two – boffo reviews in the Wall Street Journal.

Start with this swoon from Susan Delson two weeks ago.

Matisse’s Masterpieces From Ordinary Objects

Boston exhibition traces how a vase, a chair and textiles became immortal

A glass vase, picked up in Spain. A small Congolese figure, bought from a dealer in Paris. A pot for making hot chocolate. A pewter jug. A vivid textile from North Africa.

As we learn from a new exhibition in Boston, such inexpensive, ordinary things often served as the wellsprings of Henri Matisse’s art.

Nut graf:

Opening April 9 at the Museum of Fine Arts, “Matisse in the Studio” assembles some 40 objects that the artist surrounded himself with—including that Venetian chair—along with more than 80 of the paintings, drawings and other artworks that they inspired. The French artist (1869–1954) once said about his collection, “A good actor can have a part in 10 different plays; an object can play a role in 10 different pictures.” Painting a likeness wasn’t the goal. Instead, Matisse wanted to capture his own emotional response to the object at that moment.

As well he did, according to Eric Gibson’s piece in yesterday’s Journal.

‘Matisse in the Studio’ Review: A Master’s Objects of Inspiration

By pairing works by Henri Matisse with objects from his studio, a portrait emerges of the artist and his creative process.

How does an artist’s mind work? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but broadly speaking we can say that it passes external stimuli through the refiner’s fire of an individual sensibility or vision. The trouble is, we have almost no access to this process since we see only the end result, the finished work of art on the wall or pedestal.

But the MFA exhibit overcomes that problem, Gibson says. “[The MFA’s] exhibition is nothing short of a revelation—and not just about Matisse. I can think of no other exhibition that has told us so much about what artists do and how they think.”


See you at the MFA, yes?

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Newspapers Fight Fake News Rap with Pep Squad for Truth

As our kissin’ cousins at Two-Daily Town noted the other day, newspapers are falling all over themselves trying to convince the American public that the press actually matters in a very real way.

It started with the Washington Post pasting this slogan under its banner on Page One.



New York Times editor Dean Baquet responded that “Democracy Dies in Darkness” would make a great title for the next Batman movie. And that was one of the kinder comments it drew.

Next up was the New York Times with this full-page ad.



The Times also ran this ad during the Academy Awards broadcast.



Then came the Wall Street Journal’s The Face of Real News campaign.



Locally, the Boston Globe started posting mini-manifestos at the top of its homepage last week.



The Globe also launched a series of ads like this one.



(We’re looking forward to the Boston Herald’s ad telling its readers: “You can handle the other truth.”)

The News Media Alliance has also weighed in with this ad in the Times and the Journal.



Now, coming full circle, the Grey Lady has installed this at the bottom of its webpages.



Whistling past the graveyard?

You tell us.

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The Colin Kaepernick ‘Blacklist’ Is – Seriously – His Own Fault

So the hardlistening staff caught this piece on Weekend All Things Considered the other day.

How Much Are Colin Kaepernick’s Political Views Impacting His Unsigned Status?

We’re going to take a few minutes now to talk about sports. Now, even if you’re completely consumed by March Madness, you’re probably keeping an eye on the NFL draft and free agency shuffle. So we thought we’d check in on what’s happening with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

You might remember he got a lot of attention last year for choosing to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against police violence. Now he is a free agent and has not yet found a team. Now some critics like President Trump think those are his just desserts.

For the next five minutes ATC host Michel Martin and NFL commentator Bucky Brooks talked about Kaepernick’s struggle to find a new team. But never once did they mention that it’s a self-inflicted wound.

Yesterday’s New York Times piece by Victor Mather also avoided the real issue.

Colin Kaepernick Is Unemployed. Is It Because of His Arm, or His Knee?

Mark Sanchez found a job. Mike Glennon found a job. So did Josh McCown and E. J. Manuel.

But Colin Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl just four years ago, remains unemployed.

Is Kaepernick not qualified to play quarterback in the N.F.L. anymore? Or is it something else?

Some skeptical fans are wondering if the quarterbacks who have landed jobs with teams have one significant asset that Kaepernick does not have: They all stood for the national anthem last season.

Actually, it’s not Kaepernick’s arm or his knee that’s created this problem. It’s his brains – or lack thereof.

Buried in the Times piece you’ll find the real reason Kaepernick is teamless.

In the off-season, Kaepernick opted out of his contract, hoping for a better situation. So far, that situation has not arrived.

Cost to Kaepernick: $14.5 million.

Via sbnation.com:

In 2016, Kaepernick restructured the deal the 49ers gave him when they were convinced he was the franchise quarterback. He gave up $14.5 million in injury guarantees for the ability to opt out of his deal at the end of the year.

So let’s not shed any tears for Colin Kaepernick.

He’s a victim entirely of himself.

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NYT Editing Slashback: ‘Richard Simmons Is President’ Edition

From our Get Me Rewrite! desk

As New York Times public editor Liz Spayd noted last month, the paper’s “editing architecture”has traditionally employed multiple layers of editors, with most stories blue-penciled by three editors, “with up to six or more if the article is headed for home page prominence or A1.”

But, Spayd wrote, “soon this conveyor will be replaced by a bespoke editing system built primarily around digital.”

Hey – we got your bespoke right here.

From Sopan Deb’s piece in yesterday’s Times about Dan Taberski’s Missing Richard Simmons podcast, “which is currently the most downloaded podcast on iTunes.”

The back story: On Feb. 15, 2014, Mr. Simmons didn’t show up to teach his class at his gym, Slimmons, in Beverly Hills, Calif. He stopped answering emails or phone calls. He no longer sprinted out of his home to greet tour buses, delighting onlookers with his glittery costumes. After an article in The Daily News suggested last year that Mr. Simmons might not have control over his life, the mystery took such hold in pop culture that even Donald J. Trump weighed in from the campaign trail, promising to liberate Mr. Simmons if he became president.


Memo to Times bespoke editor: That should be this.

[E]ven Donald J. Trump weighed in from the campaign trail, promising – if he became president –  to liberate Mr. Simmons.

C’mon, Timesniks. This is Editing 101. You can’t even handle that anymore?

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Dead Blogging ‘Rabbit Fest’ at MSPCA’s Nevins Farm

Well the Missus and I trundled up to Methuen yesterday to catch Rabbit Fest at the MSPCA-Angell Nevins Farm and, say, it was swell.

From their website:

Thinking about adding a rabbit to your family – or just want to learn more about them? Join us for Rabbit Fest, a presentation that will fill your mind with everything you’ve been wondering about. Topics covered will include behavior, diet, housing, exercise, handling and wellness. And afterwards, everyone will be invited to meet our adoptable rabbits!

And that’s just what we did – we met the cutest rabbits ever, along with a whole bunch of very nice people who went to Nevins Farm to adopt rabbits, dogs, cats, parakeets, even chickens.

If we were 20 years younger and had a back yard, we would have adopted Tux for sure.

But, for sure, you could.

P.S. If you do head up that way, stop by the SunnySide Diner – nice people, good food.

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NYT (Sp)IndyCar Piece Totally Ignores Boston Strand Prix

As you splendid readers no doubt remember, the IndyCar Series has a memorable Boston track record, having crashed and burned last year in its attempt to hubcap the Hub.

We’ll pass over in silence the many downshifts IndyCar driver John Casey executed in relation to the ill-fated Grand Prix of Boston, and shift our attention to Dave Caldwell’s sunny side up piece in yesterday’s New York Times.

Its recent struggles with attendance and television ratings notwithstanding, Nascar remains the king of racing in the United States. But IndyCar racing, with sleek open-wheeled racers that can turn 220-mile-per-hour laps, appears to have established a foothold after spinning for two decades.

[IndyCar chief executive Mark] Miles said six events in 2016 bettered or matched previous attendance records. TV ratings are up by 55 percent in the last three years, with an increase in each of those seasons.

Nowhere, however, does Caldwell mention IndyCar’s spectacular flameout in Boston last year.

We’d say the Times was spinning its wheels in this instance.

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Wall Street Journal: Fenway Park Lefties Are Not All Right

While Red Sox Nation might be sold on newly acquired pitching ace Chris Sale, the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Salfino is decidedly not.

Fenway: A Monster for Lefties

The Boston Red Sox were desperate to add an ace this offseason and on paper Chris Sale fits the bill perfectly. But after acquiring the five-time all-star from the White Sox this winter for two top prospects one big worry remains: Will Sale be the latest lefty to be swallowed up by The Green Monster?

Since 1988, one southpaw has had an ERA under 3.50 at Fenway Park in at least 15 starts there: Jon Lester (2.49) in 2008, according to Stats, LLC. Last year, five-time all-star lefty David Price had a 4.11 ERA there and suffered through a 3.99 ERA overall, his worst season since his rookie year in 2009.

Helpful chart:

Helpful history: “Yankees great Lefty Gomez likened his games at Fenway to ‘pitching in a phone booth.’ Another New York legend and fellow Hall of Famer Whitey Ford famously didn’t want to pitch there at all, hurling just 87.2 innings in Boston (12 starts) versus 246.1 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium (31 starts). And Ford had good reason to skip that venue whenever possible, posting a 6.16 ERA in Boston (his ERA against those same Red Sox at home: 2.16).”


Not-so-hopeful conclusion:

Sale has made only three career starts at Fenway and allowed nine runs in 19.2 innings (4.22 ERA). Given the park’s history and the history of left-handed pitching there, it’s curious as to why the Red Sox have paid such a hefty price for two of the game’s top left-handers. While Sale makes $12 million this year versus $30 million for Price, according to Spotrac, he cost the team two of the most coveted prospects in all of baseball in the December trade with Chicago, according to MLB.com: top-overall minor leaguer Yoan Moncada, an infielder, and 30th-ranked righty Michael Kopech.

Clearance Sale, anyone? Discuss among yourselves.

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Dead Blogging ‘WOW: World of WearableArt’ at PEM

Well the Missus and I trundled up to the Peabody Essex Museum yesterday to catch WOW® World of WearableArt™ and, say, it was . . . wow.

From the website:


For the last 25 years, New Zealand has hosted an annual design competition that challenges sculptors, costume designers, textile artists and makers of all stripes to explore the boundary between fashion and art, and to “get art off the walls and onto the body.” The WOW® World of WearableArtTM competition is the country’s largest art event and each year it culminates in a live runway show for winners in front of an audience of 50,000.

WOW® World of WearableArtTM — the exhibition — presents 32 ensembles the competition’s most unique, spectacular and outlandish wearable artworks. Expertly crafted in a range of materials, from wood and aluminum to fiberglass and taxidermy, these creations celebrate lavish creativity and push the limits of wearability. PEM is the exclusive U.S. east coast venue for this interactive and theatrical exhibition.

Our two favorites:





That’s Notre-Dame Cathedral, crafted entirely of felt.


The exhibition runs through June 11. You really should see it.

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