“As a photographer, I want to capture the moment… As a human… too hard to watch….”

Art of Quotation

“There’s always an internal struggle. As a photographer, I want to capture the moment because my job is to tell the story. As a human, the agony can be too hard to watch. Some don’t know they need help or that help exists.

I have sympathy for the poor. I don’t judge them now that I’ve seen so many people in dire situations from different circumstances and have heard about their lives. Many times I’ve tried to comfort them with encouraging words.”

What Hong shows us through his lens is a collection of people living raw, destitute lives in a place the Los Angeles Times describes as “a Dickensian dystopia in downtown Los Angeles.” There are many people there — some because of economic reasons and some for mental health reasons. But what is certain is that the sight of so many people without a place to live is a…

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Sarah Doughty

“Your body is beautiful. Not just
the soft parts. No part of you is ugly,
no matter what anyone says.”

Your body is beautiful. But not just the soft parts. The rose is only part of the entire flower. What good would a rose be without a little strength to protect itself? The thorns may not be as pretty as the petals, but they serve a purpose. Society has the same tendency to label things as ugly. So try to appreciate parts of you that protect you, too.

© Sarah Doughty

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davidbrucehaiku: good surprises






some surprises are good —

unexpected places for

unexpected art


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davidbrucehaiku: twelve cups of coffee




twelve cups of coffee

— it used to be I couldn’t

get even one cup


NOTE: Entertainers often have riders in their contracts asking for certain foods and drinks in their dressing room. Comedian Totie Fields’ rider included twelve cups of coffee because early in her career she couldn’t get even just one cup.


David Bruce: Critics Anecdotes




Voltaire could be an outspoken critic. When Jean Jacques Rousseau sent him a copy of his “Ode to Posterity,” asking for his opinion, Voltaire replied, “I do not think that this poem will reach its destination.”

J.R.R. Tolkien had an unfinished children’s story which the London publishers George Allen & Unwin heard about. The chair of George Allen & Unwin got hold of a copy and gave it to Raynor, his 11-year-old son, to read. He also said that he would give a shilling to young Raynor if he wrote a review; thus, Raynor became the first critic of the manuscript that would become The Hobbit—he liked it. As a result of Raynor’s one-paragraph, somewhat misspelled review, George Allen & Unwin decided to publish the novel, and Mr. Tolkien, of course, went on to write The Lord of the Rings. After he had grown up, Raynor said, “I earned that shilling. I wouldn’t say that my report was the best critique of The Hobbit that has been written, but it was good enough to ensure that it was published.”

Joan Hammond once starred in a BBC radio performance of an opera at which she was not present. The opera was Turandot, and she was scheduled to sing two performances. The first performance went well, but the second performance a few days later found Ms. Hammond ill and in bed. Fortunately, the BBC was able to use the recording of Ms. Hammond’s part which they had made in recording the first performance and integrate it with the live singers in the radio studio. Ms. Hammond states, “Some kind people even thought that I had sung better on the second night!”

Bruno Walter could be a very good critic as well as a very good conductor. He once saw Lotte Lehmann perform Elsa in Lohengrin. The next day, Ms. Lehmann waited to hear what he had to say about her performance, but he remained silent, so she asked him point blank for his opinion. He told her, “Yesterday I saw something which I don’t ever want to see in you, which doesn’t go with you at all: routine.” Ms. Lehmann listened seriously to his comments, and she wrote later, “Never again did I sing Elsa with ‘routine.’”

Even a dog can be a critic. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a number of mansions, but he also designed a number of modest houses. After schoolteacher Robert Berger built his own house using Mr. Wright’s design, his 12-year-old son wrote Mr. Wright asking him to design a matching doghouse. Mr. Wright did exactly that, and Mr. Berger and his son built the doghouse. However, their labrador retriever, Eddie, apparently did not like the doghouse and so never went into it.

John Martin, dance critic for The New York Times, once wrote of Alicia Markova, “She is not only the best living ballet dancer, but probably the greatest who ever lived.” Asked how she felt about such high praise, Ms. Markova replied, “It’s easy to write something like that, but it’s I who have to live up to it. What am I going to do the next day, I ask you? I must work all the harder. The audience is going to expect something after reading that bit. It will be hard lines if I let them down!”

If you pay for a ticket, you are entitled to express your opinion. After the Notre Dame football team was held to a tie by a much weaker team, coach Knute Rockne was accosted by a man who told him, “What’s the matter with your team? It stinks!” Mr. Rockne asked the man if he had paid to see the game. The man dug in his pocket and pulled out a ticket. Mr. Rockne looked at the ticket, then replied to the man, “You’re right. We stink.”

The people who make money from dance and the people who criticize dance sometimes have somewhat different perceptions of the role of dance criticism. Dance impresario Sol Hurok once told dance critic Clive Barnes, “You know, Clive, the critic’s job is to sell tickets.” He replied, “Sol, you are absolutely right, but we get to choose the tickets we feel are worth selling.”

Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham came in for her share of criticism during her career. One critic called her dancers “Graham Crackers,” and another critic, noting that she often created dances that stressed linear and geometric shapes, suggested that if she ever got pregnant, she would give birth to a cube.

How can one criticize a king? King Louis XIV wrote several poems, then asked satirist and critic Nicolas Boileau for his opinion of them. Mr. Boileau knew the poems were bad, but he turned the criticism into a compliment: “Sire, nothing is impossible for Your Majesty. Your Majesty has set out to write bad verses—and has succeeded.”

During one tour, Sir Rudolf Bing and the Metropolitan Opera was criticized mercilessly for five days in a row in the Chicago Tribune by Claudia Cassidy. On the 6th day of the Met’s stay in Chicago, Sir Rudolf met Ms. Cassidy as she was entering the theater and said to her, “Oh, Miss Cassidy. I didn’t know you were in town.”

The pediatrician of opera critic Patrick J. Smith was very good at giving his own criticisms of bad productions at the New York Metropolitan Opera. He once stated about a certain production, “It needs a collective glycerine suppository up the rear.”

The Met once played at the Paris Opera, where some French critics panned Roberta Peters. Sir Rudolf Bing defended Ms. Peters by saying, “Miss Peters may have had a bad night, but the Paris Opera has had a bad century.”

Birgit Nilsson once got angry and left London because a critic complained that her performance as Brünnhilde was not yet perfect. As Ms. Nilsson was leaving, she said, “If I’m not perfect, let them find somebody who is.”

A critic once complained that Richard Strauss had conducted with a too-fast tempo the finale of a Mozart symphony. Mr. Strauss observed, “These gentleman of the press seem to have a direct wire to Olympus.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Edward Thomas: The Owl



Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved;

Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.
Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest,
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry
Shaken out long and clear upon the hill,
No merry note, nor cause of merriment,
But one telling me plain what I escaped
And others could not, that night, as in I went.
And salted was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Kubla Khan


In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.


But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

And ’mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:

And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;

Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!


A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:

It was an Abyssinian maid,

And on her dulcimer she played,

Singing of Mount Abora.

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight ’twould win me

That with music loud and long

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed

And drunk the milk of Paradise.


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