George W. Bush, the Renaissance Man

George W. Bush, the man who told Jay Leno that he named his cat Bob, “So I can remember how to spell it when I get older,” has been very busy.

Between rounds of golf, organizing and riding in 100K mountain bike rides with America’s wounded warriors, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas, and personally refurbishing health clinics in Africa, through the Bush Center’s partnership with Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon, whose mission is to screen women, in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, for cervical and breast cancer, the 43rd President of the United States has also become an accomplished portrait painter.

President Bush charged his painting instructor, Gail Norfleet, with a task. “There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it.”

While a guest on the The Tonight Show on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, President Bush presented a portrait he had painted of Jay Leno to the late night television host.

Jay Leno portrait

Jay Leno portrait by President George W. Bush

President Bush has plans to paint portraits of 19 foreign presidents and prime ministers with whom he worked during his tenure at the White House. He has already provided the artwork for a Christmas ornament, which may be purchased through the Bush Center web site (which, incidentally, works).

Bush Center Ornament

Bush Center Ornament

See also:
As Bush Settles Into Dallas, Golf Tees and Family Time Now Trump Politics [New York Times; Nov 2, 2013]

George Bush Shows Off Painting Hobby, Shares Jay Leno Portrait [US Weekly; Nov 20, 2013]

George W. Bush Presidential Center

Joss Whedon, Mitt Romney and the Zombie Apocalypse

Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What The Godfather is to Francis Ford Coppola, the Buffy saga is to Mr. Whedon: a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. If Mr. Coppola never had another thing to say, The Godfather
trilogy would have been enough. If Mr. Whedon never brought another screenplay to fruition, he has made an indelible mark on the popular culture.

But Mr. Whedon continues to forage in fantasy. This time he has spun an apocalyptic vision starring Mitt Romney in the role of President of the United States. He envisions a world in which the restoration of personal liberty and “ungoverned corporate privilege” will result in poverty, joblessness, and the loss of a woman’s “reproductive rights.”

Romney is ready to make the deep rollbacks in health care, education, social services, reproductive rights, that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting, all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland. But it’s his commitment to ungoverned corporate privilege that will nose-dive this economy into true insolvency and chaos. The kind of chaos you can’t buy back. Money is only so much paper to the undead. The 1% will no longer be the very rich, it will be the very fast. Anyone can run, fight, make explosives out of household objects or especially do parkour of any kind – you’ll want to stick with them, unless they read Ayn Rand.

Mr.Whedon apparently prefers the nightmare he knows: four more years of trillion dollar deficits, 23 million unemployed or underemployed workers, $5-a-gallon gasoline, Barack Hussein Obama.

As some of us rewind and continue to enjoy the Buffy tapes, perhaps Mr. Whedon will spend the next four years learning to be a traceur. [Look it up. I did.]

Mark Vincent Has It

Mark Vincent, born in Caringbah, New South Wales, Australia, was just 15 when he won first place in Australia’s Got Talent on April 22, 2009. Inspired by his late grandfather to study opera, Mark also admires the great opera tenors Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti.

For his first performance on the talent show, Mark performed Giacomo Puccini’s incomparable classic Nessun Dorma:

Sulkin, Soccer & Cyrus: Let the Games Begin

British actor Gregg Sulkin, 17, is not only the teen-dream boyfriend of superstar Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana; he is also a terrific soccer player. He is in Israel competing in the 2009 Maccabiah Games as a member of the British soccer team.

This is Gregg Sulkin’s second trip to Israel. His first trip to the country was for his bar mitzvah, which was held at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. He told the Jerusalem Post, “I love how united Israel is as a country, as a family,” joking that “the weather here is so much better than in London.”

After the games, Mr. Sulkin will go to Los Angeles to pursue acting, his other passion. The young man has appeared on television and in the film Sixty Six, with Helena Bonham Carter. An autobiographical film, it is based on the real-life bar mitzvah of the film’s director Paul Weiland. It is about a boy (played by Gregg Sulkin), about to have his bar mitzvah in London in 1966, against the backdrop of the World Cup finals. That was the year that England hosted the games, achieving their first and only win.

See Also:
Miley Cyrus’s boyfriend: Maccabiah, then Hollywood [Jerusalem Post; July 20, 2009]
How do you say Hannah Montana in Hebrew? [21c Israelity Blog; July 21, 2009]

Keeping Art Real

The question itself is a cliché: Do we need another TV reality show?

Ready or not, there are casting calls in progress for a new one, tentatively titled The Untitled Art Project. The winner of this competition will get a gallery show, cash, and a sponsored museum tour, although the details have not been disclosed. The show is being produced for Bravo by Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Magical Elves, the production company that created Top Chef and Project Runway.

Auditions have been held in New York at alternative art space White Columns, in Los Angeles at alternative space LaxArt, Chicago at the School of the Art Institute, and Miami at Frederick Snitzer Gallery.

Thirteen finalists will be selected. Filming is scheduled to begin in September.