Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Collection’ & the Case of the Four Boys
Andrew Scott Cooper writes: Murderous deeds have inspired artists like Caravaggio, Jacques-Louis David and Paul Cézanne to produce some of their best-known works. But has there ever been a case of an artwork helping solve a real-life murder mystery?
In their confession statements, the four boys admitted to a litany of other offenses and unsolved crimes that had panicked their neighborhood over the summer: punching and kicking to death a second man, Reinhold Ulrickson, on a Brooklyn street corner 10 days earlier; pouring gasoline over a third man and setting him alight; horsewhipping two young women in a public park late at night; and assaulting numerous others who had the misfortune to encounter them. Prosecutors expressed shock and bewilderment.
“I can’t understand what would make boys do such terrible things,” said the Kings County District Attorney. “They apparently had no reason except the thrill they got.
”Sixty years ago this month, on August 16, 1954, four Jewish teenagers dubbed the Kill-for-Thrills gang were accused of slaying black factory worker Willard Menter under the Williamsburg Bridge. According to police accounts, Brooklyn youths Jack Koslow, 18, Melvin Mittman, 17, Jerome Lieberman, 17, and Robert Trachtenberg, 15, confessed to beating and kicking their victim, burning his feet with lit cigarettes, and then dragging him to the end of South Fifth Street where he was beaten again to the point of unconsciousness, thrown in the river and left to drown.
The so-called “Nights of Horror” crime spree and the story of four good boys gone bad shattered the complacency of an American summer. Overnight, Koslow, Mr. Mittman, Lieberman and Trachtenberg earned notoriety as the human face of juvenile delinquency. Articles on the boys and their exploits appeared in mainstream news publications like Time, Newsweek, Look and The New York Times, which splashed the case on its front page. So great was the media frenzy that by the end of the year Hollywood gossip queen Hedda Hopper suggested the boys were the inspiration for James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.
The sensational murder was front-page news.
h/t VA Viper
Perfectly crispy yet tender lemongrass chicken skewers, with a coriander/lime/chili oil dipping sauce – and heavenly curried beef in betel leaf, with crushed peanuts, at Chôm Chôm… (more)
For the LA Times, Carolyn Kellogg reports: Laura Ingalls Wilder based her beloved “Little House on the Prairie” books on her actual experiences growing up on the American plains. But they were books for children, and, sometime in the 1920s, she wrote a memoir that would have been rated R for violence and adult content.
“There’s the story of a love triangle gone awry. And a scene where a drunk man douses a room in kerosene, lights in on fire, then drags his wife through it by the hair.”
No one would publish it.
Until September, when the University of South Dakota State Historical Society Press will release the memoir, with notations, as “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.” The Associated Press reports that it’s Wilder’s original rough draft of the book, misspellings and all, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, the author of a biography of Wilder. Read the rest of this entry »
Full Album – 50th Anniversary Collectors Edition HQ Audio
Kind of Blue brought together seven now-legendary musicians in the prime of their careers: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Jimmy Cobb and of course, trumpeter Miles Davis.
And just as younger artists looked to Miles for guidance and inspiration, he looked to them for raw, new talent and innovative musical ideas. In the mid-1950s, Davis discovered gold in the subtle sounds of 25-year-old pianist Bill Evans, who he recruited into his late ’50s sextet. Evans would prove an essential contributor to the Kind of Blue sessions. Read the rest of this entry »
Collier’s Magazine with Classic Space Toy Cover – 18 April 1953
From vintage everyday: Heres a collection of amazing color photographs showing everyday life of Hong Kong in 1969, taken by LIFE photographer Co Rentmeester. Dedicated to Pundit Planet‘s own co-founder and Legal Affairs Correspondent, Primatologist and Hong Kong Fong‘s Deb Fong, our Deputy Bureau Chief & Asia Photo Editor-at-Large, both stationed at our luxurious Hong Kong Headquarters. See the whole series from this 1969 portfolio, it’s a large set, worth exploring the whole thing.
Having been an active participant punk rock tabloid and street poster art era this cover refers to, I find this NYT treatment both rewarding, and overripe. Or at least overdue. That the Times engaged MTV VJ Kennedy a source (almost a media dinosaur, by the standards of would-be millennial readers) is telling. But we’re hardly in position to judge. Pundit Planet’s visual stylebook is directly inspired by the fast-and-dirty cheap xerography of that bygone era, when the ubiquitous internet was still on the horizon. It’s unnerving to see it given the archival museum treatment by NYT editors and art directors, but its not without its pleasures. Relevant, or nostalgic? We’ll let the readers decide.
Times Magazine Editor Jake Silverstein “really wanted us to do a cover that conveyed the energy and spirit of the libertarian movement,” art director Gail Bichler told Poynter in a phone call. Robert Draper quotes Kennedy at the beginning of his cover story: She compares Paul to Pearl Jam (and his father, Ron Paul, to Nirvana, and fellow Sen. Ted Cruz to Stone Temple Pilots). That got the art folks thinking: This piece needs a rock treatment
They decided to “use that rock reference and twist it a little bit,” Bichler said. “Since it was a story about Washington politics, we wanted to appropriate the language of D.C. hardcore.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Verdant Hong Kong
The most wonderful surprise for me has been the impressive natural elements found throughout HK – providing a beautiful contrast to HK’s more urban and iconic modern developments. Everyone knows HK is packed with glitzy skyscrapers and shopping malls, but even amidst all of that, you stumble across gigantic trees with sprawling roots that snake down city walls.
Parks are full of greenery, the surrounding islands are lush with foliage. Refreshing to view, perhaps all that plant life even helps make up for the occasional smog by pumping some oxygen into this fair city.
Heartbreaking, personal journalism. Well done.
Originally posted on TIME:
My first flight was international, 2,500 miles from my birthplace in Kyubishev, Russia, to Rome, Italy in 1978. Italy was a common stopover for Russian Jews fleeing the Soviet Union. We stayed three months in a small apartment in Ladispoli, a suburb of Rome. I ate a lot of chocolate and oranges while my parents learned Italian and waited to hear that America would let us in.
When we got to Brooklyn, they got busy working. In Russia, my father had been a doctor, my mother a teacher. Here, he drove a cab and she knitted yarmulkes for the local Judaica store.
My parents had spent their lives looking at maps of the world and planning where they would go when they were free. We were poor, but they saved all of their money for the traveling we would do. The world was suddenly so big, after a lifetime of…
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