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July 23, 2007 Mon
July 23rd, 2007

Producers, Popes and Princes, who's signing my check this week?

The other day I was discussing old movies with another artist when we both professed a love of the 1964 Carol Reed film THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY. It is the story of Michelangelo's tumultuous relationship with his employer Pope Julius II, the Warrior Pope.
At first I liked the film because one of my life goals was to be a Warrior Pope, but age has cooled such ambitions. I also liked that Charlton Heston looks disturbing like the real Michelangelo, with a less broken nose.

But more than that, it is one of the few movies to capture the strange relationship between artist and patron, or producer to you animation folks. Renaissance Artists loved to make art, but they still had to haggle for their fees, pay rent, and buy supplies. Many belonged to artists unions, like the Guild of St. Luke in Rome. Even Michelangelo and Leonardo were sued and Rembrandt declared bankruptcy. It shows that Patrons feel that their input, although not as tactile as the creators, was equally vital to the creation of a famous work. Maecenas, Peggy Guggenheim, Lorenzo de Medici, Nelson Rockefeller, all were famous patrons who were the cause of a lot of artists making a living making great art. Whether they and the artists drove each other nuts is another story.

So check it out. The DVD has all the 1960's tschatskis that made going to a big theater an event- overture, intermission, wide screen, accompanying trailors and features.
Birthdays: Ethiopian Emperor Rastafari Halie Selassie "the Lion of Judah", Raymond Chandler, Raymond Booth, Don Drysdale, Gloria DeHaven, Arthur Treacher, Woody Harrelson, Pee Wee Reese, Bob Fosse, Harry Cohn, Don Imus, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charisma Carpenter, Slash, Marlon Wayans, Monica Lewinsky , Daniel Radcliffe the Harry Potter star is 18

Today is the Ancient Roman Festival of Neptune, God of the Sea.

1599- Michel Caravaggio received his first commission for a painting.

1846- Because he did not believe in the War with Mexico, writer Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his taxes. A Concord Mass constable fined him. The event caused him to write his famous piece "On Civil Disobedience" which inspired Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

1886- This was the day Bowery saloonkeeper Steve Brodie claimed he jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge. Was Bugs Bunny there..?

1904 – The Ice Cream Cone created by Charles E Menches during the LA Purchase Expo.

1927 – Reacting to a public finally tired of the Tin Lizzy Model T and increased competition, the Ford Motor Co sells 1st the first Model A car.

1932-The Birthday of Fritos. Texas ice cream maker Elmer Doolin buys a recipe for corn chips from a Mexican fry cook for $100 dollars and starts the Frito-Lay Company.

1962- The first simultaneous television broadcast via the new TelStar communications satellite from America to Europe.

1966- The comedy song "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha, Ha!" released. The singer was Napoleon XIV.

1968- Fred Blasie won an unprecedented fifth World Wrestling Championship belt. Blasie later gained more fame for recording the comedy song "Pencil Necked Geeks".

1982- Actor Vic Morrow and two children are killed by a stunt helicopter while filming "Twilight Zone, the movie". The last scripted line before his death was "I’ll Keep you safe kids, I swear to God!" The children were being worked into the early morning hours without a caretaker supervisor in defiance of the Coogan Laws, child actor laws named for Jacky Coogan the kid who played with Chaplin in "The Kid". Director John Landis was investigated but exonerated.

1984- Vanessa Williams the first black Miss America resigned after a photo spread of her in a nude lesbian scenario in Penthouse magazine. She denied any impropriety until the facts were obvious and she resigned.

1986 - Britain's Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson called Fergie. They divorced later and she moved to the US and became the spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

1995- The Discovery of Comet Hale-Bop. It’s called that because it was discovered almost simultaneously by two separate astronomers-Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bop in Arizona. The comet’s passing close by the Earth was the signal for a messianic cult in San Diego called the Heaven's Gate to commit mass suicide by eating poison laced Jello pudding. They felt that their suicide would enable them to join aliens flying in UFO’s flying in the comet’s tail. Media mogul Ted Turner said of the cult: "Oh well, one hundred fewer nuts in the world.."

2004 – two armed men enter the Munch Museum in Norway and steal Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream at gunpoint. It was recovered in 2006 but damaged by water.