Pen Pall: Alienated by a famous pen company’s anti-Semitic namesake

Visiting Barcelona, I walk into Vinçon, a cutting edge design shop. I peruse glass cases of gadgets, gifts and housewares. “Well, this is awkward,” I think to myself as I come upon a display of art supplies featuring a box of Caran D’Ache color pencils. “Here I am, a Jewish customer, and they want to sell me a product whose brand is named in honor of- whose logo is, in fact, an adaptation of the actual signature of one of the most vilely anti-Semitic illustrators in recent history.

It’s a lot of drama for a nice set of pencils and no one else in the store seems aware.

I first learned that the name Caran D’Ache was related to something other than art supplies in 2006 when I visited the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris. They were showing “Alfred Dreyfus: The Fight for Justice,” an exhibition telling the story of the “The Dreyfus Affair,” 19th Century France’s biggest scandal, through artifacts, correspondence and the press.

A very brief summary of The Dreyfus Affair:

Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish captain in the French army, and in 1894 he was accused of sending French military secrets to the Germans and subsequently convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison. Soon after his conviction, evidence emerged that the real traitor was a French army officer, Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy. Esterhazy was tried and acquitted. Dreyfus was tried twice more and convicted twice more. Forgeries and suppression of evidence were involved in Dreyfus’s convictions. Eventually, all claims of Dreyfus’s guilt were disproved and in 1906 Dreyfus was exonerated and reinstated into the military.


Continue reading “Pen Pall: Alienated by a famous pen company’s anti-Semitic namesake”


This Wednesday January 26, 2011
come see “Upon My Word”
a musical play written by Alec Coiro, produced by Erin Krause.
I saw it once and it is HILARIOUS! And I am going back for more!!!
Buy tix soon because it will sell out again!!!
152 WEST 71ST ST

Continue reading “UPON MY WORD!”

Unknown Legend Performs this Friday at Joe’s Pub, NYC!

Anisette, photo via Vlassis13

Did you or anyone you know ever have the book “Unknown Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll by Richie Unterberger?  The book catalogs and describes some of the most Continue reading “Unknown Legend Performs this Friday at Joe’s Pub, NYC!”

3AM Imromptu Subway Interview with Alden aka Fonda from Team Facelift


Setting: 3AM, 6 train from Spring Street to 86th Street.  Probably the fourth time I’ve run into Alden a.k.a. Karim Fonda from Team Facelift on the subway in the middle of a weeknight.

Me: What are you working on now?

Alden: Right now we got an album coming out on Duck Down Records.  (((At this point a guy standing near us waiting for the subway chimes in that he’s heard of Duck Down and we talk to him for a minute.))) We got Junior Sanchez who’s sort of a legendary New York House guy to executive produce it and I’m also working on a project with a chick named Tigga Galore on some voguing music.

Me: What do you mean by ‘voguing’?

Continue reading “3AM Imromptu Subway Interview with Alden aka Fonda from Team Facelift”


Martin Monnickendam (Dutch, 1874-1943), Portrait of Jacques Goudstikker, image via The Jewish Museum
(Reclaimed begins with this portrait of Jacques Goudstikker, a handsome young man at age 19.)

Reclaimed: Paintings From the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker at The Jewish Museum is partly an exhibition of Dutch, Northern Baroque, and Southern Renaissance paintings, and more interestingly, the story of a Dutch Jewish art collector and taste maker, the Nazi looting of his collection, and the eventual restitution, decades later, of part of the collection to his heirs.

Jacques Goudstikker’s grandfather had founded the Goudstikker gallery and his father was an art dealer as well.  After studying in Amsterdam, Leiden and Utrecht, Jacques joined the family business at age 22.  He brought immediate drastic change to the Goudstikker Gallery as well as the entire Dutch art market by Continue reading “Come See: RECLAIMED”

Come See: New York, N. Why? at The Met.

Rudy Burkhardt, Pedestrians, New York City, 1939
Photo via Met Museum

There’s a show up at The Metropolitan Museum of Art of which I’ve come back to three times because I enjoy it so much, maybe I can convince you to come see it too…

New York, N. Why? (1940) is a handmade scrapbook of silver-gelatin photographs Rudy Burkhardt took in New York City between 1937 and 1940 accompanied by 7 sonnets by the poet and dance critic Edwin Denby.  The Met owns the only copy which has been unbound and hung on the wall in sequence for this exhibition. Continue reading “Come See: New York, N. Why? at The Met.”