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Water is the theme at inaugural Prix Pictet - first international photography prize to focus on sustainability

Sebastian Copeland: Stormy Weather. Series: Antarctica: The Global Warning Melchior Islands, Antarctica, 2006

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What is photography for? Can it change our minds? An exhibition just opened at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo, of the 18 photographers short listed for the first Prix Pictet, poses these questions loud and clear.

The Pictet prize, established this year by Pictet & Cie, one of Switzerland’s largest private banks, and co-sponsored by the Financial Times, is the only international photography prize that concerns itself directly with sustainable development and environmental issues. In that sense it isn’t quite a conventional art prize but an award – of 100,000 Swiss francs (SFr) – to be given annually to the artist who best uses the power of the camera to communicate a vital dispatch on one of the most serious issues facing us all.

Sanggen Dalai, Inner Mongolia, China. Women flee the main street as dust fills the air. This shot is from Benoit Aquin's series, which has won the overall prize of £50,000. The Chinese Dust Bowl documents scarce water resources, desertification and ecological refugees in China  read more »

Work of legendary portraitist Yousuf Karsh celebrated at Boston exhibit - Churchill, Hepburn, Picasso, and more

portrait photo of Audrey Hepburn taken by Yousuf Karsh

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The work of the legendary portraitist is celebrated at a centenary exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Among the portraits -

Audrey Hepburn, 1956
"The French novelist Colette picked her out of a ballet lineup to play Gigi on stage, and her career was launched. When I photographed her in Hollywood and commented on her quality of sophisticated vulnerability, she told me of her harrowing experiences during the Second World War. Years later, in the Kremlin, Chairman Brezhnev agreed to sit for me only if I made him as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn."

portrait photo of Winston Churchill taken by Yousuf Karsh

Winston Churchill, 1941  read more »

Taking best of international cuisine, Melbourne becomes world's latest destination for inventive, delicious food

At The Press Club, chef George Calombaris brings his classical training to traditional Greek dishes, like this fusion dish of char-grilled octopus, smoked butter kozani saffron makaronadas (a Greek pasta) and edible amaranth flowers

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Melbourne has become the world's latest destination for inventive, delicious cuisine. The term "foodie" is often heard in Melbourne, such a mecca for good eating, you could call it the Southern Hemisphere Paris. Certainly, securing a reservation at chef Shannon Bennett's Vue de monde can be as tough to get as a table for two at one of Joel Robuchon's establishments. Culinary creations by Bennett, 34, a native of Melbourne who looks more like a surfer than a super chef, include what he calls a "virtual gnocchi," a cep puree treated to an in-kitchen chemistry lesson which defines its shape, then served accompanied by sautéed king brown and shimeji mushrooms and zucchini flowers and finished with a tarragon emulsion. Another crowd pleaser is the bouillabaise which is presented at the table in a glass-toped, 1950s-style coffee percolator filled with aromatic shellfish stock. After this concoction is brought to a boil, it is poured into a bowl of tartares of crayfish and king fish cloaked in buffalo mozzarella.

dining at Vue de Monde  read more »

At New York Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2009 (photos), designers bend fashions to fit a slimmer economy

Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2009 collection at New York fashion week

Vera Wang

Pamella Roland

Tuleh

Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2009 collection

Michael Kors

Complete coverage at New York Times with slideshows

Photos courtesy of Louis Lanzano/Associated Press, Getty, Firstview, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, and Telegraph UK

Related Article: Ralph Lauren at New York Fashion Week (with video)

Graphic novels, all grown up – story-telling art form with both image and text, the medium’s influence rises and broadens

Project Superpowers, featured at Wizard World Chicago, is a new comics publication by Glenview artist Alex Ross and writer Jim Krueger that brings back a bevy of vintage superheroes from the 1940s

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In 1969, the American writer John Updike famously declared, "I see no intrinsic reason why a doubly talented artist might not arise and create a comic strip novel masterpiece."

The statement was immediately ridiculed by literary traditionalists, who disparaged comics as a "low" medium unworthy of serious critical attention. But it became a rallying cry among comic book creators, long second-class citizens in the art world.

Persepolis is a French-language autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood in Iran after the revolution

Forty years has proved their prescience. Graphic novels – usually defined as extended-length illustrated books with mature literary themes – have risen to widespread prominence, spurred on by the work of respected talents such as Art Spiegelman ("Maus: A Survivor's Tale") and Will Eisner ("A Contract With God").

Graphic novel sales in Canada and the United States hit $375 million in 2007, five times the figure reported in 2001, according to ICv2, a pop culture site. "Jimmy Corrigan," a book by Chris Ware, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies alone; "Persepolis," originally a graphic novel by Marjane Sartrapi, picked up an Oscar for best animated film in February.

Maus: A Survivor's Tale is a memoir by Art Spiegelman, presented as a graphic novel, that recounts the struggle of Spiegelman's father to survive the Holocaust as a Polish Jew

The world of comics and graphic novels is in the midst of a creative renaissance that may be greater than the dawn of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s. This development has been a longtime coming, considering that the beginnings of both newspaper comics and the cinema occurred at roughly the same time in the late 19th century. Film quite quickly matured into the 20th century's great American art form, while comics remained relatively insular and ignored by adults.

Monster is an award-winning seinen manga written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, about a brilliant, idealistic brain surgeon, and an enigmatic young boy who turns out to have been programmed to be the next Adolf Hitler, or just pure evil incarnate

Alternative graphic novels are represented on film as well (Road to Perdition, Ghost World, American Splendor, Persepholis) and are increasingly making their presence felt at traditional book store chains where there are now entire sections devoted to graphic novels as well as manga (Japanese graphic novels, which are another subject entirely).

Generation Next folks currently coming-of-age are almost as conversant about the latest graphic novel as Generation X-ers were about grunge music. The main difference is that graphic novels show no signs of being a temporary trend. Indeed, they may be here to stay, well into the 21st century.

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The Sandman is a comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and published in the United States by the DC Comics imprint Vertigo. It chronicles the adventures of Dream of The Endless, who rules over the world of dreams, in 75 issues from 1989 until 1996

Images courtesy of Marjane Satrapi. Art Spiegelman, Naoki Urasawa, Neil Gaiman, and Evanston Review

Original Source: Christian Science Monitor and Evanston Review

Comic pioneer George Carlin dies at 71 before he can receive the annual Mark Twain prize for American humor this November

George Carlin’s impact on the English language and modern culture will be felt for years to come

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George Carlin, an extraordinary standup comedian whose dark social satire won him multigenerational popularity and a starring role in the most famous broadcast obscenity case of modern times, died Sunday of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 71.

In his 50-year career, George Carlin put out 22 solo albums and three best-selling books

Late last week the Kennedy Center announced he would receive its annual Mark Twain prize for American humor this November. The TV network Comedy Central in 2004 named him the second best standup comedian of all time, behind Richard Pryor.

Carlin became one of the most popular standup comedians in America in the 1960s and early 1970s through programs like "The Ed Sullivan Show." Carlin was one of the first comedians to dress "naturally" for a standup routine, in jeans and a beard, and his most famous routine became "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television."

The early 90s saw Carlin dabble in family-friendly fare as the conductor on 'Shining Time Station'

"He was a genius, and I will miss him dearly," Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press. "He had an amazing mind, and his humor was brave and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats," Ben Stiller said.

Carlin appeared in three of Smith's films: 1999's 'Dogma,' 2001's 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,' and 2004's 'Jersey Girl' (seen here, with Raquel Castro)

The comedian, who toured college campuses for years and made a name for himself delivering biting social commentaries, had released 22 solo albums and three best-selling books, including "Brain Droppings," a collection of essays and routines, and "Napalm and Silly Putty," a collection of his stand-up material. Both won Grammy awards. His third book, "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" was nominated for a Grammy. He earned several gold comedy albums and five Emmy nominations.

stand-up was Carlin's bread and butter, and he was inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame in 1994

Carlin first appeared on radio in 1956 at age 19, while serving in the Air Force. He took a number of TV and movie roles over the years, introducing himself to a new generation of fans with the "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" series and an even newer generation with children's shows like "Thomas the Tank Engine." He did voiceovers in films that included "Cars" and in 1993 he got his own sitcom on Fox, "The George Carlin Show." He played George O'Grady, a New York cab driver, and the show ran 27 episodes. In the 1990s he appeared in the Barbra Streisand- Nick Nolte movie "Prince of Tides." Other film roles came in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Dogma," with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. He was the first host of "Saturday Night Live" and appeared some 130 times on "The Tonight Show."

Carlin on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2003, a show he appeared on many times, even filling in for Johnny Carson as guest host in the 80s

The death of his wife of more than 30 years, Brenda Hosbrook Carlin, on Mother's Day 1997 was particularly hard for Carlin. "See ya Dink," he wrote on his Web site. "Miss you a lot."

Last year, Carlin released "George Carlin: All My Stuff," a 14-DVD collection of his HBO specials from 1977 to 2005. He had shown no signs of slowing down. Just last week, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Carlin would be awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The center is scheduled to honor Carlin at a tribute performance by former colleagues on Nov. 10, which will be broadcast later on PBS.

a note and a flower are seen on the star of comedian George Carlin on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood

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Photos courtesy of LA Times, The Money Times, Reuters/Mario Anzuoni, Lisa Falzon, Galella/WireImage

Original Source: NY Daily News and LA Times

Image Gallery: George Carlin 1937-2008

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