Art and Literature

Entries about creativity in all its forms, plus original creative material.

Censorship or honest mistake at the Intercontinental?

Fahimeh Vahdat climbed the 8-foot ladder to untack the ceiling-to-floor artwork that she had up at the Intercontinental Milwaukee's M Gallery on a recent afternoon.

Then, she flipped the long canvas around, so its main image, a woman raising her hands in supplication, would face the wall and no longer be visible to visitors to the gallery space.

"This hurts," she said, stepping off the ladder. "I'm very emotional doing this. I am doing what I shouldn't be doing -- turning my piece the other way."

Vahdat is an Iranian-born artist who has been creating work about human rights for many years. She came to the U.S. 30 years ago after several members of her family were executed for being of the Baha'i faith, she said.

Her artwork, titled "A Prison Called Iran" features a contour drawing of a female nude, her arms raised in supplication. It is a subtle and layered work, with the main image obscured by rows of faint black lines, red script letters that repeat the work's title and red netting the veil the work from top to bottom.

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Rainn Wilson: The ESQ+A

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A conversation about Wilson's new movie, Super, violence in films, God, and Dwight Schrute.

Breakfast at Odessa Cafe, East Village, Manhattan

SCOTT RAAB: Did you meditate this morning?

RAINN WILSON: I did not meditate this morning. I set the alarm for 9:15. I forgot about the time change.

SR: I tweeted where I was sitting, but I assume you get 18 million tweets per hour.

RW: Yeah. I usually don't check those "@" replies — there's just too many of them, and too many crazy people.

SR: You have more than 2 million followers.

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Today begins Randy's visit in Israel

He will be attending conferences to promote the gay community and marriage equality. Social TV it’s handling the schedule for his visit and will send its representatives with him to meetings and events.

From Social TV, here’s Randy’s itinerary:

May 16 - Randy will tour Jerusalem, where will visit Yad Vashem, will meet with MK Nitzan Horowitz, tour sites with historical heritage, and have dinner with the CEO of Open House Jerusalem, an organization of lesbian, gay, transgender transgender and bisexual people working for LGBT rights. He will also speak with the queer community of Jerusalem

May 17 - He’ll tour the Old City of Jaffa. In the evening he’ll take part in an event sponsored by Iggy, a gay youth organization, marking the International Day for the fight against homophobia.

{josquote}He’ll tour the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. and have a dinner in his honor.{/josquote}

May 18 - He’ll visit Tiberias and eat lunch at “Dex.” He’ll tour the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. and have a dinner in his honor.

May 19 - Visit Masada, the Dead Sea and eat dinner in Jerusalem.

May 20 - He’ll be in Tel Aviv.

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Book Review: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable

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'Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921), Head of the Baha'i Faith from 1892-1921, wrote, "Truthfulness is the foundation of all the virtues of the world of humanity. Without truthfulness, progress and success in all of the worlds of God are impossible for a soul. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also become realized."

This "holy attribute" is as essential to the process of understanding historical figures as it is to the development of the personal soul. James. W. Loewen argued this point eloquently in his "Lies My Teacher Told Me". Loewen critiques the tendency toward "heroification" of historical figures. He describes "heroification" as "a degenerative process (much like calcification) that makes people over into heroes. Through this process, our educational media turn flesh-and-blood individuals into pious, perfect creatures without conflicts, pain, credibility, or human interest".

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'Uber Nerd' Rainn Wilson Talks 'Super' Film and Career

{josquote}You practice Baha'i. After Seals and Croft, you must be the most famous adherent.{/josquote}

Rainn Wilson stars as Frank D'Arbo, aka The Crimson Bolt, in the hilarious movie 'Super,' which opens this Friday. You can of course also see Wilson as the most irritating and odd office worker ever on 'The Office,' going strong in its seventh season.

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The wonderfully offbeat actor spoke to us, of course, about Steve Carell's last season on the NBC comedy, working with Ellen Page and whether he was a nerd growing up. (Answer: A decisive yes.)

You rock. Hard.
That's so sweet. I do. I rock hard.

Did you laugh out loud when you read the script for 'Super'?
I did. It's a funny story. I was on the set of 'The Office,' and Jenna Fischer who used to be married to James Gunn, the guy who wrote and directed it, said to me, "You know I was talking to James the other night, and I asked him how come he's never done 'Super' because it's my favorite script of his," and he was like, "Well I don't know who would play the lead," and Jenna was like, "What about Rainn for the lead?"

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