It is commonly known among conservation biologists that biodiversity — or the totality and variability of genes, species and ecosystems of a region — is integral for optimum health and sustainability of a region. Though it is a term that is arguably clunkier than “sustainability” — biodiversity is slowly becoming a topic of interest within the sphere of sourcing and design.

This was spurred by the United Nations, who designated 2011-2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. In the summer of 2011, the UN unveiled three initiatives to promote biodiversity in fashion — namely through competitions in the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Spain. Amsterdam’s Green Fashion Competition was a recent recipient of the UN’s support. Holly Syrett, Project Manager for The Green Fashion Competition said that their goal was, “to create awareness of what biodiversity is and why it needs to be sustained throughout the fashion industry… biodiversity provides us with our materials, clean water and a stable climate. It safeguards our future and forms the basis of our prosperity and economic development. We truly believe in the innovative talents and creativity of the fashion industry and therefore challenge fashion entrepreneurs to create catwalk-worthy fashion while sustaining biodiversity.”

Earlier this year the European Commission announced a new “Business and Biodiversity” award to a European company with outstanding achievements in halting biodiversity loss and supporting natural ecosystems. And still, two years earlier, the UN hosted a business and fashion event in Geneva highlighting exemplar companies in biodiversity, including the a.d. schwarz label that is part of the Mezimbite Forest Centre, which highlights forest conservation and sustainable development as part of the everyday business operations. Efforts such as these emphasize the integral role that the private sector will continually play in global environmental concerns — from climate change to conservation.

“The fashion industry relies heavily on biodiversity, through its use of different fibers and other raw materials for textiles” says Eduardo Escobedo, Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Natural systems can be understood, conserved and managed to find unique and fine fabrics while conserving the world’s flora and fauna. Companies that took the lead in integrating more ecologically-sound principles into their business not only differentiated themselves from competitors but also enhanced their revenues by attracting new customers and infiltrating new markets. Current markets for bio-based and eco-friendly products and services showed growth regardless of the decline in economic activity. For example, in 2008 the U.S. organic sector showed a 17.1 percent annual growth rate and the 2009 Cone Consumer Environmental Survey exposed that 34 percent of consumers are more likely to buy environmentally responsible products, and 44 percent mentioned that their environmental habits have not changed as a result of the economic downturn.

Creative players in the apparel industry, hand-in-hand with policy shapers at the United Nations, are playing a major role in protecting our fragile ecosystems. Fashion companies, especially in the luxury industry, seized the opportunity to be at the heart of dialogue on supporting biodiversity through strategic alliances with NGOs and governments. In September 2009, Tiffany & Co, Gucci Group, Levi Strauss, and dozens of other fashion brands responded to Rainforest Action Network’s plea of Don’t Bag Indonesia’s Rainforests by highlighting the illegal cutting on Indonesia’s biodiverse forests for the use of paper in luxury shopping bags. “When we reached out to nearly a hundred fashion companies to inform them that the paper used in their bags was tied to Asia Pulp and Paper, a company notorious for pulping Indonesia’s rich rainforests, the response was overwhelming,” stated Robin Averbeck, Rainforest Action Network Forest Campaigner. “Companies like the Gucci Group responded by creating forward-looking paper policies that would steer them away from controversial suppliers like Asia Pulp and Paper and towards responsible alternatives like recycled paper. Most recently Levi Strauss & Co. released a revamped paper policy that ensures it is not sourcing from endangered forests.”

Zegna Group, a member of the International Vicuña Consortium, took in hand a project to protect the endangered South American camelid from poaching. The group, today, by investing in irrigation projects and working with local communities helps to keep vicuña in their habitat. “I think our project is the first one done by a private brand in Peru, which can be a good example for other enterprises or even to the Peruvian government,” comments Paola Zegna, head of luxury men’s outfitter Ermenegildo Zegna. Loro Piana, Zegna and Incapalca are three companies that convinced the Peruvian government in 1994 to revive the vicuña wool export after it was forbidden in 1969 to avoid its extinction. These companies by helping to maintain biodiversity have access to a scarce material — named “the fiber of the gods” — that allows them to sell coats as exclusive as $18,000.

When asked to cite another successful ‘biodiverse’ story, Mr. Escobedo did not hesitate to state the Yacare caiman skins used by Bolivian communities. The sustainable management plan implemented in this area ensures that harvesting does not exceed reproduction rates and doubles the income of hunters selling legally-hunted crocodiles. The reptile skin industry, which developed widely in the 20th century, historically provided reptile skins coming from wild reptiles killed for commercial use. Today the context is changing with wildlife conversation public concerns. Though quite a bit of controversy can ensue as to whether it is ethical to harvest animal skins to begin with for fashion-based products, it no doubt important to enact proper policies, community sustainable development measures, and overall awareness to ensure that our world’s ecosystems remain intact.

This is a joint article written by Nahida Sinno, Source4Style Journalist-in-Residence and Summer Rayne Oakes, Co-founder, Source4Style .



 

Unlike most women, I only get manicures three or four times a year. My decision is not based on the cost of a manicure, its not because I don’t have a nail salon nearby or because I don’t have an hour or so each week to sit down and get a manicure. The real reason that I don’t get manicures is because I wash my hands about 100 times each day. No, I do not have obsessive-compulsive disorder. As a physician who sees many patients each day, I have been trained to wash my hands before and after seeing each person. As you can imagine, during an average workweek, a fresh manicure will last, on average, one day. If I’m very lucky, a manicure could last two days.

When several friends told me about gel nail polish and the amazing fact that a manicure with gel polish lasts two weeks or more, I was intrigued! Thinking that this would be the answer to my plain, unpolished nails, I decided to investigate gel polish. Surely it would be better than acrylic nails which often permanently damages nails. Although gel nail polish gave me a beautiful manicure that lasted almost three weeks, I did have 5 concerns.

  1. Some of the gel nail polishes contain a chemical called methyl acrylate which can cause an allergic skin reaction, called contact dermatitis. Wherever the chemical comes into contact with the skin, a rash may develop. Because we inadvertently touch our eyes throughout the day, the rash can also involve our eyelids. The rash from methyl acrylate is usually red, itchy, bumpy and uncomfortable. It may last a week or two. Removing the polish and treating the skin with a cortisone cream will clear the rash.
  2. The chemical, butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), which is considered a cancer-causing agent, is found in some gel nail polishes. Although we do not know exactly how much exposure you would need for cancer to develop, it’s important to be aware of this connection. Not all polishes contain this chemical, so check the ingredient list.
  3. Gel nail polish is set or cured with ultraviolet light. Think of the light as baking the polish into the nails. The problem is that ultraviolet light is essentially sunlight and sunlight causes skin cancer. If you are exposed to ultraviolet light for four to eight minutes every two weeks when you have a gel manicure, that can add up to significant exposure. To avoid potential skin cancers on your fingers or hands, I suggest that you apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to directly your hands and fingers after you wash your hands midway through the manicure. Then wear tightly woven cotton gloves with the tips of the fingers cut off. Another alternative is to find a manicurist that uses LED (light emitting diode) light to set the gel polish. We don’t think that this type of light will cause skin cancer.
  4. To remove gel polish, your nails are soaked in or wrapped in acetone. Acetone is a very drying chemical and will cause your nail to become brittle and peel after repeated use. Massaging a moisturizer into you nails several times each day will help to combat the dryness.
  5. As with acrylic nails, the surface of your nail is usually abraded or roughed with an emery board, before gel polish is applied. This will weaken your nail and lead to breakage and the possibility of infection.

To maintain healthy nails, my compromise is to get gel polish manicures at certain strategic times like before going on vacation, during the Christmas Holiday and on special occasions. I guess that means I’m back to getting manicures three or four times per year.



 

As I was watching the 43rd NAACP Image Awards I was swept away as the legendary Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte approached the stage. There was something so impeccable and completely dynamic about their appearance that I felt like there needed to be a “Best Dressed Male” category on the program and they could’ve just remained on stage and helped themselves to it! For certain they weren’t the only men gracing the Shrine auditorium that evening in a tuxedo and yet for me and the many folks I’ve conversed with about them, they were the well-dressed standouts. Beyond the timeless elegance they each possess, theirs is a defining style that has everything to do with presentation, fit and a keen sense of self-awareness. It made me realize that the old adage “trends come and go, but style remains” is ever more true today.

Without question, fashion is an ever changing arena and I must say, I’m not always amused or info-tained. I tend to think the most aspirational trends come from the visionaries who are passionate about their own personal style anyway, and thus make fashion work for them as opposed to the other way around. Take for example best-dressed men like President Barack Obama, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, Mos Def, Eddie Murphy and Boris Kodjoe, all of whom I’ve had the joy of working with on photo shoots. These style setters turn it out when it comes to fashion – and it was thrilling for me to have a “fashion say so” about them simply because the path to fabulous was utterly clear! I can also tell you shamelessly that I would jump at the chance to work with such “next-men” as Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Andre 3000 and Jay-Z. Why? Because they’re not only well-dressed, but ever evolving in their individual lanes when it comes to fashion and I’d love a little style-play with these visionaries as well.
As an editor, I enter the studio, to dream a world. There’s no designer or accessory resource that can’t be had when it comes to interpreting the vision. From the best bespoke suits, slacks and shirting’s to the most polished accessories or relaxed-wear, depending on the soul of the shoot, the inspiration is there and it’s well-thought out and reality-checked, with the subject in mind.

For example, I love the “dinner at 8″ look and I’ve reinterpreted it many times for various shoots on such personalities as actor/comedienne Sinbad, who for the November 1992 cover of Essence Magazine I reinterpreted the traditional bow tie with kente cloth and brass; on a shoot with film director Tyler Perry for the February 2009 cover the look was translated as a white dinner jacket with a black shirt. Again, it’s all about the subject and a well-thought out, individualistic approach.

Perhaps that’s what’s missing by and large today from men’s closets — too much sameness, very little individuality when it comes to fashion. When you couple that with the casualization of America, which has had a damaging, trickledown effect that keeps many from making the effort, you tend to sit up and take notice like I did in watching the Image Awards when a well-dressed man enters the room. Now don’t get me wrong, how many men live red-carpet lives or have to stay-ready for a photo-opt? Very few. However, I will tell you this, I saw Mr. Poitier as I was heading into the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel for breakfast one morning and there he was in his relaxed-wear looking just as polished as he did on stage and trust me, it had everything to do with who he is “on” or “off-duty.”

So what say I? If I were seeking to be a modern, well dressed man, I’d establish “my look” or at least work with a personal shopper (who’s services are free) to do so. And regardless of whether my budget was large or small, I’d strike the balance between investment pieces and well-designed accessories. Like any great collector, I wouldn’t shop le look all at once or at a single location, rather I’d shop around, collecting the real “finds” as I go. I’d incorporate into my life, a great tailor, so that everything fits like a dream, keeps pace with evolving changes and who I could trust to make any and all repairs, seamless. I’d also locate a good dry-cleaner that wouldn’t damage my clothing and one that’s earth-friendly at that. Finally, I’d make it a point to dress the man in the mirror, him alone and be fierce!



 

The collections were interesting — but it was the designers who intrigued me.

As each of them took a bow on the second day at ARISE Magazine Fashion Week, I noticed a theme.

From the exuberant bow by Romero Bryan of Jamaica, to the fresh-faced beauty of Lia Kebede or the funky presentation of Patricia Mbela of Poisa, to the triumphant one of Christie Brown from Ghana — there was a youthful energy about each.

It was no surprise that of the seventeen designers that showed yesterday at least a dozen of them were under thirty. They shared a range of stories, from one who had worked at Donna Karan in New York City before returning to Nigeria to start her collection or Kezia Frederick of St. Lucia, a recent graduate of Central Saint Martins.

Their youth isn’t remarkable — but their spending is. They represent a growing tide of young Africans who are opting to return home as entrepreneurs than stay in the west as professionals. They’ve turned their backs on their parents’ dreams to be lawyers in London, doctors in New York or accountants in Milan.

But they haven’t turned their back on their traditions.

In fact, as a whole, the seventeen collections I saw yesterday were an homage to Mother Africa. The most obvious and predictable was Batik print and Kente which dominated collections by designers like Davida and Christie Brown. But the freshest and most unexpected was by Kezia Frederic. The young designer debuted a collection that seemed inspired by the markets of West Africa. From intricately tied head wraps to fabrics wrapped around the waist, it was an inspired debut and one of the strongest collections of the day.

Others presented collections that were completely devoid of any common references to the continent. Nigerian brand House of Farrah debuted sultry, sophisticated gowns crafted from silk jersey that simply floated down the runway and PhunkAfrique chose tweed as the signature fabric in its collection of trousers, blazers and gowns — while menswear designer Buki Akib delivered a collection that was daring, defiant and refreshing. Whether literally or abstract in its homage, each of these collections reflected the range of African talent. As designer after designer took a bow — I found myself doing something I usually refrain from at fashion shows — giving applause.

I was as proud of them as they were of their continent.


Follow behind the scenes coverage of ARISE Magazine Fashion Week in Lagos, Nigeria on Blay’s African Style & Culture site, Africa Style Daily.



 

BOSTON — Managers of stock mutual funds had an unusually tough time beating the market last year, with fewer than one in five achieving that goal, a study found. That’s the lowest number in the 10 years the study has been conducted.

About 84 percent of U.S. stock funds that are actively managed, rather than passively tracking an index, underperformed versus the Standard & Poor’s indexes representing the market segment the funds invest in. That’s according to S&P Indices, which on Monday released its 10th annual fund performance scorecard.

The market researcher found that fund performance was better over the past several years than in 2011, although a majority of funds still fell short. Over three years, from 2009 through 2011, about 56 percent of stock funds underperformed relative to S&P benchmarks. Over five years, 61 percent underperformed.

Going back 10 years, the average percentage of funds underperforming has been about 57 percent. Before last year, the worst year for manager performance had been 2006, when nearly 68 percent of funds were beaten by benchmark indexes.

Over the last 10 years, S&P says a majority of funds beat the market in just four times. The best year for fund performance was 2009, with 58 percent outperforming.

S&P found that funds specializing in growth stocks were the biggest underperformers last year. Growth stocks are priced high relative to the earnings of the underlying company because investors expect them to grow more rapidly than lower-priced value stocks. S&P found that nearly 96 percent of large-cap growth funds – those investing in stocks with large market values – underperformed their S&P benchmarks last year. In contrast, managers of large-cap value funds fared much better, with just 54 percent underperforming.

More often than not, a majority of funds underperform because returns are reduced by investment fees to cover fund operations, including costs to pay managers and analysts who support them. Those fees are difficult to offset, even if a manager is a strong stock-picker. At actively managed funds, expense ratios typically range from 0.5 percent to 2 percent. That’s the amount investors pay each year, expressed as a percentage of a fund’s assets.

Index funds charge lower fees – as little as 0.06 percent at some funds – because they don’t rely on professionals to pick stocks. Index funds are designed to track an index, delivering investment returns that are slightly smaller than the benchmark to account for fees covering operations.

There are, of course, many examples of fund managers whose investment-picking skills earn their investors bigger returns than their benchmark indexes. But a wealth of research shows the ranks of such star managers are relatively small. And their record of outperformance is typically fleeting measured against the decades needed to save for retirement.



 

Stockard Channing is eyeing a return to TV, but this time, in comedy. “The West Wing” star will appear opposite Mandy Moore in an ABC comedy pilot.

According to TV Guide, Channing will play Barbara, mom to Annie, played by Moore, in an untitled comedy project. Kurt Fuller will play Steve, Barbara’s husband and Annie’s father in the new pilot about a newlywed couple who run a restaurant in close proximity to her parents.

Since “The West Wing” ended, Channing’s TV work has included a voice on “The Cleveland Show,” “Sunday’s at Tiffany’s” and NBC’s scrapped “17th Precinct” pilot.

In other casting news …

“The Walking Dead” veteran Jon Bernthal has officially joined the cast of TNT’s “L.A. Noir.”
Bernthal will star in the noir drama opposite Milo Ventimiglia from Frank Darabont, former showrunner of “The Walking Dead.” [THR]

“Sopranos” and “Detroit 1-8-7″ veteran Michael Imperioli is trading in guns for a stethoscope for NBC’s “County.”
Imperioli will star in the medical drama pilot opposite Jason Ritter. [TVLine]

“Melrose Place” actor Grant Show and “True Blood’s” Mariana Klaveno have joined the cast of “Devious Maids.”
In the series, Show will play Spence Davis, a daytime TV star married to Klaveno’s actress character. The pilot about four maids who work for the rich and famous also stars Judy Reyes and Susan Lucci. [TV Guide]



 

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of fun to be had wearing carpets and rugs while carrying piglets (apparently an “it” accessory for spring?). Yes, we know what you’re thinking — we’re nuts. But hear us out. To kick off Toronto Fashion Week Fall 2012, home designer Kirsten Korhani took to the runway Monday night to show off some of her eclectic, bold and colourful floor coverings cut into bodices and ensembles fit for brave fashionistas and their floors. Bright reds and purples featured prominently, as well as lots of green. Perfect for the daring sartorialists out there — especially the ones who love baby pigs.

And while there were also more muted options in beiges and browns, none of the designs were frumpy. We have to disagree with a certain fashion-show attendee who argued out loud during the show that “I hate cleaning carpets so why would I wear one?” These reimagined rugs looked perfect for the dark, damp first days of winter. If only they were actually made to wear for our closet instead of our floors. Jillian Harris gave the whole thing a standing ovation.

Next up was the always fabulous Holt Renfrew show, featuring designs by Dennis Merotto, Jeremy Laing, Judith & Charles, Lida Baday, Line, Mackage, Smythe and Twenty Cluny — all told, some of the most versatile and wearable collections anyone will see at Fashion Week. The colours, like the trends we’ve been seeing all over, were muted — lots of blacks and dark greys. Pops of colour (one bright blue dress paired with an orange clutch) came courtesy of Dennis Merotto.

Outerwear played a big part at the show, which is logical given Canada’s penchant for layering as the barometer drops. Sleek leather with faux fur collars will line Holts shelves thanks to Smythe Les Vestes and Mackage, it seems. And speaking of layering, leggings and skinny pants are still in for fall (yay to the cigarette bottoms; boo to leggings); they were paired with billowy, knee-length blouses, sweaters and vests at Jeremy Laing.

To close out night one, Pavoni took to the runway. And what a way to wrap up the evening. The luscious gowns from the creators of the line make us crave fancy meals out and hangouts at galas. If you have a black-tie event coming up, opt for one of the beaded red options that rocked the runway. If you’re a bride, consider ditching the “traditional” idea of a gown and reach for one of these creations. They’re stunning. Stun. Ing. You’d easily be a best-dressed bride contender — we even think you’d trump, ahem, Kate Middleton — and that’s saying something.

Check out some of the looks from Monday night’s shows below. And stay tuned for our coverage of Tuesday’s shows — three of the hottest tickets in town are Lucian Matis to Soïa & Kyo and Lundrstöm.



 

2012-03-09-TheArmoryShow.jpg

Last week was art week in New York. There were many art shows to visit, including The Art Show, The Armory Show, SCOPE, Volta NY and Verge Art Brooklyn. On Wednesday, March 7, I went to the opening of The Art Show, which was organized by ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America) and held at The Park Avenue Armory. The space was full to overflowing. The fair showcases a range of artwork from cutting-edge 21st century works to masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. I have attended this show for many years, and in recent years there appears to be more contemporary dealers participating — some dealers have booths in both fairs, the Armory Show and The Art Show.

On Thursday, March 8, I went to the opening of The Armory Show which ran through Sunday, March 11 on Piers 92 and 94 in Midtown Manhattan. The Armory Show is a leading international, contemporary and modern art fair with 228 dealers presenting artwork in two different sections, one devoted to 20th century art, the other to 21st century art. There is an Open Forum program with major art-world figures; Armory Film, a series featuring an international selection of leading contemporary video and experimental films curated by Moving Image; and Armory Arts Week in partnership with New York’s top cultural institutions.

I enjoyed looking at the art without the crowds, as by 4 p.m., during the VIP preview, the show was mobbed (I overheard someone mention that the day after the opening is a good day to visit the show, as it is less crowded after the opening). I learned the VIP viewing is tiered, with VIP and special VIP previewing. There was also an internet pre-preview of artwork. For the average fair visitor, it would seem the artwork has already been picked over by the time one arrives. I would recommend visiting the fairs early in the evening, because it is less dense and therefore more enjoyable. There didn’t seem to be as many blue chip galleries from New York City in the contemporary section as in previous years, but as one gallery owner told me, many of the New York galleries already have a New York presence and don’t see the need to pay the extra booth fee to be at the fair. I shared a nice lunch (and break) with Peter Schjeldahl, whose writing and criticism I have always admired. It was fun to compare notes about the fair and talk art.

I returned to The Art Show when I found The Armory Show too exhausting and too crowded. The Art Show was like a breath of fresh air. There were very few people there (they were probably all at The Armory Show). I saw one dealer playing solitaire on his computer and others absorbed with their phones or laptops. Although maybe not so great for business, I enjoyed walking through The Art Show the day after the opening without the crowds. I discovered a beautiful Winslow Homer watercolor that reminded me of a painting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts as well as a nice Homer watercolor at Hirschl and Adler. I have always liked the drawings of Klimt and Schiele, perhaps because my drawings that appeared in The New Yorker for ten years shared the importance and delight of pure line. Galerie St. Etienne includes drawings by both artists. I had admired the presentation of the Carla Accardi exhibit at Sperone Westwater. It stood out impressively at the opening evening. Mitchell Inness Nash had one of Kenneth Noland’s target paintings (Bolton Landing #9). I remember Noland’s assistant sharing that when the target paintings were really popular, they would “pop one out a day for $35,000 a pop.”

As I looked around, I noticed some differences from The Armory Show. The Art Show had grey rugs and a lot of the booths were painted gray or had color. The Armory show had no rugs and the booths were mostly white, creating a starker impression than the warmth and richness of The Art Show. It could also be that the paintings that were once cutting edge are now aged and framed in elegant, rich frames. I returned to The Armory Show for the Vernissage, which was a zoo, and again ran into Peter Schjeldahl, who asked me what pill I was on to have visited both of the fairs.

There are many lectures, events and art related things to do around the fairs. Next year, be sure to wear comfortable shows, as there is a lot of walking. Too many shows, too little time.



 

Set in 1960 during a National Convention, two delegates — William Russell (John Larroquette) and Joe Cantwell (Eric McCormack) go at each other for their party’s nomination., each currying the support of the dying ex-president Arthur Hockstader (James Earl Jones.)

Like Adlai Stevenson, whom Russell seems to be based on — an intellectual with ideals and wit, has a down-to-earth wife (Candice Bergen) from whom he’s been estranged from for years. (Russell for marital infidelities, Stevenson — hey, does anyone out there know what happened between Stevenson and Ellen Borden?) Alice Russell, like Ellen Borden, agrees to be at his side so that he can win, perhaps she can too.

Cantwell’s wife Mabel (Kerry Butler) a dolled-up blonde-like Pat Nixon, but hot — steamy hot — is as loyal to her husband as she is to booze and stupidity who seems to get along famously with Sue Ellen Gamadge (Angela Lansbury), a Southern widow who warns both wives that women don’t like the first lady to do too much the way that Eleanor Roosevelt did or too little like Mamie Eisenhower.

Joe is just the type to be on Fox 5, interrupting his opponent to press his point whether or not he believes in it himself — an anything-to-win kind of guy. He’s gotten hold of Russell’s medical records which reveal a nervous breakdown Russell had had in the past. In a Snidely Whiplash/Joe McCarthy-ish maneuver, he intends to hand it out to the delegates to prove that Russell is too unstable for the job. Meanwhile, someone from Cantwell’s past comes forth with a story about Joe that could blow him right out of politics.

Will Russell who believes that personal smears shouldn’t be used in politics resort to his opponent’s tactics in order to win? There’s a chance that most of you already know the answer because The Best Man was also a 1964 movie starring Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, and Lee Tracy. It was also on Broadway in 2000 starring Spalding Gray, Charles Durney, and Christopher Noth.

But for those of you who haven’t seen any other version, I won’t be a spoiler.

During the preview, Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones both ‘fumfied’ their lines (as my mother would say). But the audience was so damn glad to see them that they applauded as soon as they came out as well as at the end. Candice Bergman was resoundingly applauded too, even though she knew all her lines.

I wish this play wasn’t relevant today, but unfortunately, it is. Even without the hilarious TV close-up of John Edwards fussing over his hairdo, it’s timely. And it will be playing for the next 18 weeks, almost up to the election.

The Best Man will be playing at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York. The official opening is on April 1.



 

In the piece I wrote about The Artist I mentioned the Silent Clown Film Series and I am delighted to report that I have had many inquiries since then about where to see more silent films. As an educator and film enthusiast I’m thrilled to once again be a supporter of the silent film experience and even more excited that we all have ongoing opportunities to partake.

What’s next? Check out the
“Cruel and Unusual Comedy” at MoMA.

I was also asked what is the Silent Clown Film Series? And who is Ben Model?

Well, I didn’t know either until a friend’s father took us some years ago to an event. At this event, a silent film was being screened and beneath the screen someone would be playing a live musical accompaniment. It was to be just like it was when the movies first began in the silent era. The music was provided by a pianist named Ben Model silentfilmmusic.com and it was an awesome experience, one I never forgot. Since then I have been encouraging my colleagues and students to attend screenings by sending out every announcement I receive from silentclowns.com

Ben Model, a musician and a preservationist in his own right, has made this his life’s work and excels at it. I say with a great deal of pride that he is an alum of NYU, where he completed a degree in our Undergraduate Film & Television department. Interestingly enough though, he started this career accompanying silent films in 1981 for our Cinema Studies department, in classes taught by Professors Robert Sklar and the legendary William K. Everson. Since then, he has been completing the silent film experiences at the Museum of Modern Art and other venues for close to 30 years now.

Everyone who loves the movies has to have the experience at least once…



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