Studio Tour: Oliver Jeffers

If you have a child, chances are you have or will eventually read them a book written by and/or illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. He’s become a real favorite of mine (If you’re a writer, Once Upon an Alphabet is a must-have for your kids.) and I literally squealed with delight when I saw this article in my RSS feed. Spoiler: Oliver Jeffers’ studio is exactly what you’ve been imagining all this time. Also—pay close attention to the stuff in the pictures he has hand-labeled. You’ll recognize the typeface.


"I would take Elizabeth to see "Hamilton.'"

Joe Posnanski:

The thing about seeing Hamilton RIGHT NOW at its peak moment is that even before it begins, the entire theater is filled with wonder. Every single person would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. As a sportswriter, I often feel that sort of energy at the biggest events, at the Masters or the Super Bowl or the Olympics, but it’s even more pronounced in this theater. People look at each other with the same wide-eyed expression: “Can you believe we’re here?”

And then the show begins, Aaron Burr on the stage, talking about that bastard orphan Hamilton, and within about two minutes you realize the thing makes Hamilton magical is this: It’s going to be even better than you had hoped.

If you're a parent, prepare yourself for this one. If you're a father of a daughter that is a lot like you, even more so.


More Stuff That Don DeLillo Wrote About 20 Years Ago Comes True

Alan Taylor, writing for The Atlantic:

The Borrando la Frontera, or Erasing the Border, project took place on April 9 in Baja California, Sonora, and Ciudad Juarez, as members of the cultural organization Border/Arte “removed” parts of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in three places by painting large sections sky blue, allowing the fence to visually blend into the background. The artist Ana Teresa Fernández says the project is an effort to symbolically erase a long-standing physical barrier that separates families and causes widespread misery.


Anne Truitt on the Parallels Between Being an Artist and Being a Parent

Anne Truitt:

I noticed that when my children reached the age of about twelve, the balance of power shifted from me to them. I have sometimes felt myself in the quandary of a chicken who has hatched duck eggs: my children took to the water, I remained on the riverbank. But I cherish my own independence too much to begrudge them theirs. I do better on the bank cheering them on. If I keep a respectful distance, they welcome me into their lives almost as wholeheartedly as I welcomed them into mine when they were born. “Almost” because even the most affectionate adult children maintain with their parents a healthy reservation that marks the boundary of their autonomy.

If you had "Brain Pickings" on your What Site's Article Will Make Joe Cry in the Coffee Shop When He Reads It bingo card, you're a big winner.


DreamYard—A Community Project in the Bronx Where Art Saves the World

Ian Frazier, writing for The New Yorker:

The DreamYard Project has a patriotic attachment to the Bronx. Two young actors, Jason Duchin and Tim Lord, founded it, twenty-one years ago, to teach public-school kids in grades K through twelve by using the arts. The idea was to recruit teachers from among working artists of Duchin’s and Lord’s acquaintance in New York and match them with schools whose funding for arts education had been cut. Through a few changes, that has been DreamYard’s basic mission from the start. For some years, the teaching program was in several boroughs, but today it’s only in the Bronx, where DreamYard-sponsored artists in forty-five schools teach about ten thousand students.

DreamYard also holds poetry contests between local kids and kids in other countries via Skype, makes posters for political protests, supplies art work for parks and other public spaces, holds acting workshops for adults, helps to paint designs on local apartment-building rooftops in heat-reflecting paint, and runs arts festivals. It believes that art can save the world.

What an amazing story. I wish I could accurately describe the pride I felt reading this. As someone who spent 20+ years growing up in the Bronx, and has written two novels about the borough, my goal in 2016 is to figure out some way to help with DreamYard.