Truth and Beauty in Texas

I recently read this excerpt from “Truth and Beauty” by Robert Flynn in Trinity University Press’ Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists.

That was when I first got the notion of being a writer. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We didn’t go in much for writing at the country school I attended. We studied penmanship. But we knew what a writer was. A writer was somebody who was dead. And if he was any good he had been dead a long time. If he was real good, people killed him. They killed him with hemlock. Hemlock was the Greek word for Freshman Composition.

The country school I attended was closed, and we were bused to Chillicothe. Chillicothe, Texas is small. Chillicothe is so small there’s only one Baptist Church. Chillicothe is so small you have to go to Quanah to have a coincidence. For a good coincidence, you have to go to Vernon. Chillicothe was fairly bursting with truth and beauty, and my teacher encouraged me to write something that had an epiphany. For an epiphany, you had to go all the way to Wichita Falls.

Read the full excerpt at Robert Flynn’s website

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The Man Behind History’s Most Iconic Movie Posters, From Breakfast at Tiffany’s to James Bond


This needull is dedicated to the charm of the old movie posters. I would literally walk up a kilometer to take a look at new movie posters every Friday in the small town that I lived in.

The McGinnis Woman is a mix of Greek goddess and man-eating Ursula Andress. While today she might be interpreted as a sex object or adornment, she was conceived, in her day, to represent the empowered woman. In fact, the McGinnis Woman possesses a whirling narrative force all her own, a perfumed cyclone of sexuality, savvy, mystery, and danger. She also sells books—lots and lots of books. “The McGinnis Woman was impossibly tall, impossibly beautiful, slightly aloof, and unattainable,” in the words of Charles Ardai, the editor in chief of Hard Case Crime, a publisher of noir fiction, who still hires McGinnis to illustrate his covers. “When Bob was doing the Brett Halliday series, back in the late 50s and early 60s,” adds filmmaker Paul Jilbert, who directed the McGinnis documentary, “they were offshoots of the men’s magazines: the bare-chested men with the women behind them, cowering in the corner. What Bob did was to bring the women into the foreground—put them out in front of the guy, and made them much more powerful, sophisticated, intelligent. You just didn’t see that in other covers.”

The complete article

Michael Callahan — Vanity Fair

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When Pixels Collide


This is one of the interesting experiments which showcase the power of creation and destruction playing out simultaneously at the hands of people. The end result is beautiful.

This was recommended by Ankit.

Last weekend, a fascinating act in the history of humanity played out on Reddit.

For April Fool’s Day, Reddit launched a little experiment. It gave its users, who are all anonymous, a blank canvas called Place.

The rules were simple. Each user could choose one pixel from 16 colors to place anywhere on the canvas. They could place as many pixels of as many colors as they wanted, but they had to wait a few minutes between placing each one.

Over the following 72 hours, what emerged was nothing short of miraculous. A collaborative artwork that shocked even its inventors.

The complete article


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The Brown Knight

Today’s Needull is not a great article. It has been chosen to feature on this website out of a whim, neither for its literary content, nor for any socio-political impact but only for the nostalgic value it brings to yours truly.

When I was growing up in semi-urban India, there were no dark knights or masked friendly neighours or flying aliens in my life. I knew there was someone called Superman, who lived somewhere abroad but I was also thoroughly convinced that even in the worst of calamities, he would never bother to visit India. Thankfully, India had its own Superhero Universe, most of them creations of Raj Comics’ Anupam Sinha. The superhero team was a set of cliched Indian characters – like a cobra-man, a street dog-man and an ex-soldier decked in national colours with a super-strong shield (sounds familiar, anyone).

But the one that stood out was a young orphan circus-boy, flaming in the fire of vengeance,  vrooming through the streets of Rajnagar, sporting self-designed ordinary gadgets to tackle super villains with extraordinary abilities, using science to befriend gods and tweets to tame birds, romancing the femme fatale daughter of the local mafia boss. Today’s Needull is just a short introduction to this young lad whose intellect, skills, gadgets and bike’s horsepower has grown along with my age. Any sane Indian born in the last quarter of the twentieth century would know that I am talking about none other than Dhruv Mehra aka Super Commando Dhruva.

Aided by a utility belt, a grapple gun, a trusty Motor Cycle (parts of which he has at times used to defeat enemies) and a Commando Force who help him in data analytics and at times physical violence, Dhruv battles motley of villains – both human and supernatural. And therein lies the genius of Anupam Sinha. With a deeply enriched universe of both allies and enemies Dhruv’s comics, perfected the concept of the continuous story arc, with minor changes in the lives of background characters culminating in a butterfly effect a few comics later.

The Full Blog Here

Vaibhav Shrivastava – Men of Comics

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Bonus Read: Kerry Callen’s hilarious take on The Justice League

The Greatest Lovers in Art History


This is for Valentine’s Day. The needull captures some of the greatest lovers in art.

Here, Gérôme borrows a mythological tale of seemingly impossible love. With a little magic from the gods, however, anything can happen, as the French 19th-century academic master reveals in this canvas. It captures the momentous climax of Greek sculptor Pygmalion’s tale. Embarrassed that he had fallen madly in love with one of his female statues, he prayed to find a woman just like her. Aphrodite granted his wish later that day—represented in the painting by a happy, hovering cupid—when he landed a kiss on the ivory sculpture and she came to life.

The complete article

Alexxa Gotthardt — Artsy

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The 2016 Audubon Photography Awards Winners

Green Violetear. Photo: Barbara Driscoll/Audubon Photography Awards

This one is for bird watchers. Amazing photographs from 2016. The 2017 Audobon Photography Awards is still open.

Quick Stats:

Participants: More than 1,700

Images entered: Nearly 7,000

Categories: Amateur, Professional, Fine Art, Youth

Entrants from: 50 states, 6 provinces, District of Columbia

The complete article


Beyond Caravaggio review: a masterpiece of surprise


It is easy to see from this deathly, sexy, unforgettable masterpiece, lent by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, why Caravaggio inspired so many followers. Like a savage Christ he accumulated wild disciples. This explosively brilliant and uniquely dangerous artist hit Rome like a thunderbolt at the end of the Renaissance, blowing away the saintly scenes of his soppy milquetoast contemporaries with hard-hitting visions of raw, dirty life. In the first two paintings in this exhibition we see him at the very start of his career, portraying male prostitutes with filthy fingernails tasting forbidden fruit and getting bitten.

The complete article

Jonathan Jones — The Guardian

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