Friday, January 13, 2012

Poets, Prophets, Architects, Sculptors, Composers, Seers, Photographers, Painters, Authors....

From Parabola:

Saturday, January 14

Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima was the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (January 14, 1925 – November 25, 1970), a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor and film director, also remembered for his ritual suicide by seppuku after a failed coup d'état.

Nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Mishima was internationally famous and is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century, whose avant-garde work displayed a blending of modern and traditional aesthetics that broke cultural boundaries, with a focus on sexuality, death, and political change.

"Dreams, memories, the sacred—they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles."

— Yukio Mishima


Sunday, January 15

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King is often presented as a heroic leader in the history of modern American liberalism.

A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King's efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he expanded American values to include the vision of a color blind society, and established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.

In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.


Thursday, January 19

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.


Friday, January 20

Ruth St. Denis

Ruth St. Denis (January 20, 1879 – July 21, 1968) was an early modern dance pioneer.

Ruth St. Denis founded Adelphi University's dance program in 1938 which was the one of the first dance departments in an American university. It has since become a cornerstone of Adelphi's Department of Performing Arts.

Her early works are indicative of her interests in exotic mysticism and spirituality. Many companies currently include a collection of her signature solos in their repertoires, including the programme, “The Art of the Solo,” a showcase of famous solos of modern dance pioneers. Several early St. Denis solos (including “Incense” and ”The Legend of the Peacock”) were presented on September 29, 2006, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A centennial salute was scheduled with the revival premiere of St. Denis' "Radha," commissioned by Countess Anastasia Thamakis of Greece. The program's director, Mino Nicolas, has been instrumental in the revival of these key solos.

One of her more famous pupils was Martha Graham, who attended Ms. St. Denis' school of dance, Denishawn, that she had started with her husband, Ted Shawn. Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman also studied at Denis Shawn, and Graham, Humphrey, Weidman and the future silent film star Louise Brooks all performed as dancers with the Denishawn company. Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn were also instrumental in creating the legendary dance festival, Jacob's Pillow.

For many years, Denis taught dance at a studio in Hollywood, California just north of the Hollywood Bowl. In 1963 she teamed with Raymond DeArmond Bowman to bring the first full-length Balinese Shadow Puppet play to the United States. The performance was held at her studio and lasted more than 8 hours.

Denis was inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in 1987.

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