Folk Art - The Baltimore Tradition of Screen Painting

13 Jul 2015 
In the summer of 1913, a grocer named William Oktavec grew concerned that the heat and humidity were bad for the produce that he usually displayed outside of the shop. He decided to move the produce inside. In order to entice customers, he painted pictures of his produce on the outside of the shop window screen. People could view pictures of his products, but could not see inside the store. People who were inside the shop could still see out the window.

One day, a neighbor stopped by the store and asked Oktavec if he could paint her front window screen She wanted some privacy. The hooligans who hung around on the street corner could see right into her home! The woman offered him a picture from a calendar to copy and an artistic tradition was born. Soon, more commissions followed.

William Oktavec was born in Czecoslovakia in 1885 and was a trained commercial artist and illustrator. He came to the United States and gained employment in Newark New Jersey where he worked for the Eclipse Air brush Company. There, he pained his first screen for a secretary who complained of a lack of privacy - it was hard for her to attend to her duties while so many people passed who by her office window looked in.

Oktavec moved to Baltimore in hopes of opening an art supply store but the venture failed. He opened a grocery store instead. But his dream was not thwarted. Little did he know, as he stood behind his wooden counter surrounded by pickle barrels, that he'd start an artistic tradition that took Baltimore by storm.

His screen painting business took off and was so successful that he was finally able to open his art supply store, selling art supplies, greeting cars, and stained glass. The new shop became a community art center that provided instruction and became a hub for the arts in East Baltimore on East Monument St.

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Technology and Science News - ABC News

13 Jul 2015 

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Whitney Houston’s Death: Details Emerge

13 Jul 2015 
by Jocelyn Vena


The day after pop super diva Whitney Houston was found dead

in a Beverly Hills hotel room, details are beginning to emerge about what may have contributed to her sudden death.

While the cause of death remains a mystery, police tell People that "at this time, there's no obvious evidence of foul play."

Beverly Hills Police Lieutenant Mark Rosen said Saturday "someone in her entourage found her unresponsive in her room. ... Our detectives are still in the room, and her body is still here as well. I can confirm that Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. this afternoon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. We received a call at 3:43 p.m. from hotel security and Beverly Hills Fire, and police responded minutes later."

Police note that an investigation is ongoing. TMZ reports that while no illegal drugs were in her hotel room, prescription drugs were found. Sources add that she may have drowned in the bathtub, where her body was reportedly discovered.

Houston's body had been removed from the tub when authorities arrived, so an autopsy will have to be performed to determine the cause of her death. TMZ added that she had reportedly been taking Xanax at the time. Houston had been spotted drinking the night before at a pre-Grammy party, and in combination with the prescription drug, it could have led to her falling asleep in the tub and drowning.

Bobbi Kristina, Houston's daughter with ex-husband Bobby Brown, was reportedly on the hotel premises when Houston died. According to TMZ, Bobbi got into an argument with police when she was denied access to see her mother's body. Houston's cousin, Dionne Warwick, also showed up, according to reports, and was also not allowed to see the superstar's body.

Houston died at the age of 48 in Los Angeles. Her body was found at the Beverly Hilton, hours before her mentor Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy bash

. She was expected to attend the annual fete. The party went on as planned Saturday night, where Davis, Diddy, Alicia Keys and Tony Bennett

all paid tribute to the fallen star.

On Sunday night (February 12), fellow Davis protégé Jennifer Hudson and Houston's longtime friend Chaka Khan are expected to lead a tribute to the late icon

during the 2012 Grammy Awards.

Grammy executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, said in a statement, "It's too fresh in everyone's memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn't recognize Whitney's remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years."

MTV News' Sway and James Montgomery will be live from the Grammys red carpet tonight starting at 5 p.m. ET to get reactions from music's biggest stars on the death of Whitney Houston. Watch reactions and remembrances at

Share your condolences with Whitney's family and friends on our Facebook page.

Cezanne Painting Sold for $250 Million to Qatar Royals (Photo)

13 Jul 2015 

The art world is agog now that a best-loved Paul Cezanne painting has fetched a staggering quarter of a billion dollars from the Qatar royal family.

This transaction is a game-changer, as they say, and will have a ripple effect on the entire fine art market. The cost is so much greater than any other painting ever sold, it will surely raise the values of other art treasures.

The piece, The Card Players, was one of four in a series created by Cezanne in the 1890s.

Rounding out the top five most expensive paintings are: A Jackson Pollock from 1948, which sold for about $156 million; Woman III by Willem de Kooning; Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt, and a Vincent van Gogh which was bought by Japanese collector Ryoei Saito for about $144 million in 2006.

Considering the Qatar royal family is infamous for building gaudy skyscrapers and tacky resorts, it's intriguing they would start snapping up masterpieces such as this Cezanne painting.

"$250 million is a fortune," Victor Wiener, a fine-art appraiser the told Vanity Fair. "But you take any art-history course and a Card Players is likely in it. It's a major, major image."

This purchase is an attempt by the Qataris to remake their county into a center of culture. But hopefully, the Cezanne painting will be on public display. Masterpieces such as this one need to be shared with the world.

Cezanne's The Card Players.

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Crime News, Criminal Investigations, Lawsuits

13 Jul 2015 
We must see what is happening to our girls at the intersection of race, gender and poverty. The terrible truth is that if you are a poor Black or Brown girl who is victimized by sexual or physical violence and trauma, your suffering is denied. Instead, you are punished for it.

Like millions of other Americans earlier this year, I found myself riveted by HBO's six-part documentary series, The Jinx. Part way through the penultimate episode, the story took an unexpected turn, to the far reaches of Humboldt County in the northwest corner of the Golden State.

The land that gave us the Kama Sutra is having trouble with pornography. As the Times of India reported, India's Supreme Court is unhappy with the federal government's inaction in combating widespread internet porn. Taking matters into its own hands, the Court is considering a blanket ban on all porn.

Van Winkle's

A new website dedicated to smarter sleep wakefulness, published by Casper.

It's difficult to make generalized statements as to how the recently disclosed admission might affect Cosby's risk of criminal prosecution. The answers to all of the relevant questions can depend heavily on intricate details of individual states' laws.

Kevin Sali

Criminal defense attorney in Portland, Oregon

In one fell swoop, and a unanimous one at that, the Supreme Court in Ohio v. Clark both helped ensure child abusers may be successfully prosecuted, and resolved several open questions about the scope of the Sixth Amendment confrontation right.

Joan Meier

Professor of Clinical Law, George Washington University Law School, and Legal Director, DV LEAP. Specializes in domestic violence law.

In Norway, 31-year-old Rubirosa Irgens has admitted to killing her husband, Helge Ove Irgens, a former driving instructor 30 years her senior. She knocked him off by sneaking a smoldering portable barbecue into the bedroom as he slept, leaving it there to poison him with carbon monoxide.

Van Winkle's

A new website dedicated to smarter sleep wakefulness, published by Casper.

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