Happy Chinese New Year
Sydney, Australia welcomes Chinese New Year with 90 colorful lantern sculptures created by Chinese artist Xia Nanfor the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.The sculptures are made of fabric and wire and can be viewed from February 13-February 22 in Dawes Point.
Unable to make up its mind, Hong Kong’s store windows are filled with “cartoon-like sheep, cheeky goats and curly-horned rams in a spending bonanza some say is bigger than Christmas in the West. “
Duan Chengrong, a professor of demography at Renmin University, analyzed population data from 1954 to 2002 and says that the avoidance of childbirth in sheep years is a “myth” that does not stand up to analysis.
He calls it a “social phenomenon” that’s more common in northern China than the south. A native of Chongqing, he said he’d never heard of it when he was a child.
Scholars say that the year of the Sheep has an honorable history with positive qualities of compassion and filial piety, qualities out of favor in modern life. Chinese government officials are so concerned about the possibility of couples taking the mythology seriously, that they’ve promoted people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Twain, Jay Chou and Zhang Ziyi as sheep.
Shedding Light On Foods We Eat
Monsanto’s Complex World
Monsanto reported in January that its earnings fell 34% in its first fiscal quarter. The reasons were several. American farmers cut back on corn production, reducing demand for biotech-enhanced seeds. Record crops in the US sent food prices plummeting, resulting in South American and elsewhere farmers reducing their own corn plantings. Cotton production in Australia was also affected.
Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds have put the company at the center of controversy on multiple fronts. Wall Street was prepared for this short-term result. On Thursday America’s FDA approved a new genetically modified apple that doesn’t brown when cut open or bruised.
Politico writes that consumers may be the biggest hurdle in Monsanto’s future business game plan.
Many skeptics reject the idea of genetically-modified crops from a health standpoint. Even those who are willing to eat the food see Monsanto as destroying the lives of small farmers worldwide.
A key activist in the global anti-Monsanto drive is Indian environmentalist Bandana Shiva.
Michael Specter interviewed Shiva for a fall 2014 The New Yorker article ‘Seeds of Doubt’.
Shiva’s fiery opposition to globalization and to the use of genetically modified crops has made her a hero to anti-G.M.O. activists everywhere. The purpose of the trip through Europe, she had told me a few weeks earlier, was to focus attention there on “the voices of those who want their agriculture to be free of poison and G.M.O.s.” At each stop, Shiva delivered a message that she has honed for nearly three decades: by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world. She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive. Shiva contends that nothing less than the future of humanity rides on the outcome.
Writing for Issues in Science and Technology, Keith Kloor challenges The GMO-Suicide Myth.
Alexander McQueen the Play
The fashion world is buzzing with news that British playwright James Phillips, of ‘The Rubenstein Kiss’ has written a new play about Alexander McQueen. The play will explore “the visionary imagination and dark dream world”of the talented designer who committed suicide five years ago. The drama occurs over a night when a girl breaks into McQueen’s home to steal a dress and is caught by the designer.
McQueen’s sister Janet has endorsed the play, saying she thought it was true to the designer’s spirit. ‘McQueen’ will run from May 12-June 6, 2015 at the St James Theater.
Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano
The Independent’s Alexander Fury lives up to his name in reviewing Paris-based fashion correspondent Dana Thomas’ new book ‘Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Thomas previously wrote ‘Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster’
Fury calls the Thomas book a glossy, gossipy tell-all, ‘luridly titled’ and timed to coincide with McQueen’s upcoming ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibit at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Record-breaking advance ticket sales of over 30,000 make the previously-shown in New York 2011 show a blockbuster.
Is Dana Thomas determined to undermine not only the legacies of McQueen and Galliano — but the entire fashion world — as Fury challenges?
The writer definitely believes that conglomerates like LVMH have ‘killed the soul in creative industries to churn out profits’.
Andrew Wilson has written the first definitive biography of designer Alexander McQueen in cooperation with the designer’s family. Alexander McQueen: Blood Beneath the Skin
Wilson sees the McQueen saga as a modern-day fairy tale infused with the darkness of a Greek tragedy, reminding us of the designer’s words ‘There’s blood beneath every layer of skin.’ In exploring Beauty in his Spring/Summer 2001 collection, McQueen combined ostrich feathers painted red with glass slides painted red as symbols of blood.
Rei Kawakubo made a similar point in her ‘Blood and Roses’ Spring 2015 Collection. Panos Yiapanisstyles the slashed and violently-constructed human roses in “a visceral statement in a violently corporate industry” for Love Magazine.