Pop Culture
Pop Culture: Articles for the Scripps Howard News Service & "Seen, Heard, Said"

Why the top-365-songs list isn't a stupid idea

Actors sink their teeth into vampire roles

Gregory Corso: My encounter with a Beat legend

Golden Globes: Sleazy and proud of it

In the offing, Clinton continent looms

"NYPD Blue" opener: The misery continues

 New movie genre: Reclusive authors anonymous

"West Wing," "Ally," et al.: Words, words, words

When TV shows outstay their welcome

Film critics dig their own graves with "Angels" review

Great Robert Altman films you never
heard of

Famous folk, next week in the arts, show business briefs

"Time regained": Proust in the multiplex

Glitterati is dead, long live Popfocus

Carl Barks: The man who put the ducks in Duckburg

"Almost Famous": Lester Bangs rises from the dead

Liz Hurley wins in war of words with Jane mag

Douglas poses with Zeta-Jones, and baby-makes three

Weddings that aren't: Douglas, Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Ritchie

The Emmy War: A half-century of coast-to-coast feuding

Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the Iglesias odds

It's raining books by and about Trumps

What's in a mane? Blond woman in the news

Liz Hurley denies dissing ex-beau

Rock Hall of Infamy: Anti-heroes from Elvis to Eminem

Barbra tix bankrupt fans

Laurels for Kathie Lee to rest on

Hillary "In bed" with De Niro, Cruise, Kidman

How "Sopranos," "West Wing" will divvy up awards

This just in: Donald Trump is not a dope

Walter Matthau: A rumpled old dog in the heart of the city

Sampras to take a stroke at wedding bells

Who wants to host "Monday Night Football"?

Queen rewards Tina Brown for demoralizing American readers

How the Korean War cane to TV land 20 years late

Ivanka Trump: From catwalk to commencement line

Lester Bangs: The troublesome punk who wouldn't die

Rags clash over Ted Turner "romance"

With straight face, Trump deems Marla's move "tacky"

"Friends" re-up for another season of top ratings, top money

Madonna in denial, and rightly so

"Suburbia": The continental subdivide

Howard Stern, Sly Stallone in bizarre, apocryphal triangle

Easter video viewing: "Spartacus" to "Harvey"

Billy’s in the news: Bob, Joel in love but not with other

"Charles's Angels" movie: Dispiriting news for old-time fans

Innovative career move for 'NYPD Blue' co-star

Top model: Why I gave oldish rocker husband the heave-ho

Unpleasantville: The awful truth about old-time TV families

Tina Brown held captive in desert by demanding children

Anybody's Oscar: Unusually suspenseful awards show looms

Oscar telecast: Looking for a few good hosts

"Lambs," "Beauty": Oscar's love affair with unacceptable behavior

Brad Pitt, Oscar to be in same room at same time

Letterman bites guest-host bullet: Andrew "Dice" Clay, call your agent

Seinfeld eyes East Hampton manse: Where's the welcome wagon?

"Mod Squad" Immortal dishes couple du jour

Brad Pitt's second thoughts about Oscar

Mike McCurry praises "West Wing": It's not entirely demeaning,,,"

Memo to "Hannibal" producers: Get Najimy while the getting's good

Don't Invite Gwyneth and Oscar to the same party

True or false: Douglas, Zeta-Jones don't even know each other

Ex-Clinton honcho linked to ex-"Cheers" costar

Third party cited in Trump-Knauss breakup

 Gossip queen goes to bat for Talk mag

20th century's No. 1 hit: "Satisfaction" hits the spot

Statement: Spice girl's marital problems insoluble

Charlie Brown, Pogo and me

From Howdy to Charlie Brown, we hate to say goodbye

The Beatle George: While his guitar gently weeps

Jodie Foster's people in mild tiff with CBS

A Peanuts trivia Q&A

Publicist: Boyle still joined at hip

There's video in your future and future in your video

"The future is now": Hit rewind

Whitney Houston presides over confluence of talent

Jim Carrey's flack earns A "D," Cher's A "B-minus"

Geraldo: bye-bye, doghouse

Michael Douglas does nothing much, reporters go wild

Ricky Martin on Menudo: Look back in anger

How to outsmart Halloween crowds at the video store

Tom Cruise puts himself in harm's way, only not really

1800-1900: Steaming towards revolution

1700-1800: Liberty, equality and bloodshed

1600-1700: The earth moves; North America is settled

Trump mulls travel plans, from altar to White House

"Faces of Impressionism" Time machine made of canvas, paint

Major quakes aren't personal unless they happen to you

Brad Pitt gracious about character assassination

Director insists Harrison Ford is not a brainless hulk

Costner, Willis, Douglas. Branagh, Sting_ in that order

Streisand: Color her ready to plug her new album

Julia and Benjamin's rings devoid of significance, flack says

Literary mud wrestling, featuring Geri and The Spice Girls

Urgent news: Ford to replace Gibson on "GMA" eventually

She married a monster from outer space

Never mind Godzilla VS. Mothra, Here's Trump VS. Cronkite

Spurned by Pitt, Redford pays court to Damon

Celebrity coyness is bustin' out all over

"Detroit Rock City": Kiss of death

Talk is cheap? Not with Tina Brown at the helm

The Beats: Remembered, Lionized and Unread

Real estate beat, starring Woody Allen and Donald Trump

Mood Music, or how we learned to stop worrying

Sex in the cinema: From "Last Tango" to "Eyes Wide Shut"

Two easy steps to looking exactly like Ricky Martin

Close encounters of the Muppet kind

Upcoming Brad Pitt movie not garbage, insiders say

Kathie Lee's eyewear excites Islanders' ire

Back to the future, continued

"Wild Wild West": Buck Rogers in the 19th century

Sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein: Fun, Fun, Fun

An expert's verdict:" Austin Powers" is pretty neat

Click here for pointless celebrity gossip

P. Dempsey Tabler of the jungle: The many faces of Tarzan

Kirk Douglas' Ex tells all about Errol Flynn fling

New twist in TV programming: Ax profitable shows

Private jet fees spell the end for another celebrity union

Killer serials: "Flash," "Buck" and a boy named George Lucas

Top nonfiction books: A message from two old men

Celebrity Dream dreams: Monica, Donald, Barbara, Georgette

Two divas, publicist form bizarre show-biz triangle

Johnny Cash tribute: Ring of fire, ring of friends

Streisand employee really upset about rumors

Grande Dame Eyes MGM Grand Gig

Secretive celebs? Not by a long shot

NBC honcho bristles at notion that Brokaw is not a saint

Barbara Walters not keen on daily dose of Monica

"Seen, Heard, Said"

David Letterman, Donald Trump, Eddie Murphy, Elton John

Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Prince Charles, Maj, Ronald Ferguson, Fergie, Miranda Richardson, Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Axl Rose, Stephanie Seymour

June 15, 1999


By ROGER ANDERSON Scripps Howard News Service

Shortly after the close of World War II, America fell asleep and slept for a long, long time.

While sleeping, America had a very beautiful dream. It was a dream of a perfect world without hunger, sickness, danger or want.

The dream's environment was made up of smoothly produced graphic images - magazine advertisements, billboard displays, gleaming kitchens and baths, housing floor plans, glossy travel brochures, television commercials, comic-book panels.

Some of America's artists, known as Abstract Expressionists (Jackson Pollack, for instance), spent years trying furiously to wake America up from this dream. Other artists, like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, thought sleeping wasn't such a bad thing - and that the dream America was having while it slept was fascinating and beautiful.

Just how fascinating and beautiful Lichtenstein deemed it is dramatically brought home in a brand-new exhibit of his wood and metal sculptures and related sketches at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. The show runs through Sept. 30.

Here, Lichtenstein, who died in 1997 at age 74, actually retrieves three-dimensional objects from the comic-book world that is his most famous metier as a painter.

What seems merely silly at first glance - what could be sillier, after all, than a painted wood representation of a stylized explosion you might find in a comic book? - proves to be irresistible fun, especially when he extends the concept and its execution to desk lamps and their cascades of light, or coffee cups and their billows of steam, or other innocuous objects as they are found in innocuous magazine and cartoon settings.

The actual sculptures are marvels of balance and design, of right proportion and skillfully handled materials.

Indeed, Lichtenstein's mastery is mind-boggling. It's one thing to come up with such silly ideas, but to design them, sketch them, cast them, assemble them, disassemble them, paint them and finally produce a finished piece that's just as fresh as the original thought is close to miraculous.

Each work feels as though it must have been conceived, executed and produced without a hitch in five minutes, but many of them required months. The accompanying sketches - smudged, dog-eared little works of art in their own right - show just how much planning and forethought went into each of them.

Perhaps the last thing you expect anyone to make a sculpture of is a brush stroke. After all, brush strokes are the two-dimensional building blocks of sculpture's very antithesis, painting - aren't they?

Well, as anyone who enjoys Van Gogh or Rembrandt will tell you, your typical brush stroke is actually a tiny three-dimensional relief object stuck to a canvas. Accordingly, Lichtenstein offers an entire series of "Brush Stroke" sculptures, primary-colored daubs blown up to several thousand times their original size and given depth and texture in the person of wood and metal and, yes, paint.

Perhaps the least satisfying piece in the exhibit is the one that takes up the most space: the Pop Art Car designed by Lichtenstein for actual racing In the Le Mars Grand Prix in 1977. (It came in ninth overall, first in its class.)

In the midst of objects whose meaning is lovingly veiled under several layers of irony, it's a letdown to find something that's exactly what it purports to be - a racing car with all kinds of brightly colored stuff on it. You wait for a punch line, or an insight, that's simply not there.

The car does, however, work as a testimony to Lichtenstein's complete sincerity. You look at "House II," the big and dizzyingly deep cartoon-style domicile he made for the Vienna Biennale shortly before his death, or at any of the "Explosion" or "Lamp" sculptures, and any temptation you feel to view them as negative critiques of America's love of safety and blandness is disappointed.

Lichtenstein, who was happy to see unruffled serenity in our refusal to live in the past or outside our carefully financed designs for living, leaves all the judgment to us.

("Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture and Drawings" is on view through Sept. 30 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, New York Ave. and 17th Street, Washington, D.C. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, $10 for family groups. The gallery is closed on Tuesdays. Call 202-639-1700 for more information.)

Roger Anderson is arts and entertainment editor at Scripps Howard News Service.

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