November 9, 1996
Re: Brian Lowry's "What's the Real Price of Rising TV Deals?" (Calendar, Nov. 2). At my first story meeting with Norman Lear, he told me his secret was that he surrounded himself with really bright, creative people. His philosophy was/is that the situation and writing must be there first or you've got nothing . . . something so simple that it's clearly lost on today's TV execs who, like lemmings, are all dashing for the ratings cliffs and jagged rocks below as fast as possible. Here are the top network execs, all complaining about the skyrocketing costs of shows and the diminishing creativity that results . . . and not one of these spineless creatures offers to stop the madness by simply stating that his/her network will in the future dedicate more time and money to the development of solid, well-rounded situations instead of buying up talent who will certainly end up rich but more than likely embarrassed by the experience.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 1994 |
Derrick Tan waved a white plastic straw over pieces of cereal and sawdust, watching closely to see if any of the items moved. It wasn't a magic trick, but Tan's expression revealed a touch of wonderment. "Hey, it worked," Tan said, as bits of cereal clung to the straw. The straw-waving exercise, which demonstrated the power of static electricity, was one of several conducted by students participating in a summer enrichment program at Golden Elementary School.
May 20, 1993 |
After 25 years of teaching undergraduates, Douglas A. Bernstein, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, thought he had heard every possible excuse for missed exams and late term papers. Right. So as a lark, Bernstein decided to use his electronic mail network to collect what he now thinks of as a Student Excuse Hall of Fame. Here are some of his favorites. (Feel free to save them for your next mental health day.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 22, 1991 |
Sixty-six Orange County high school and junior high students got a hug from Mickey and Minnie Mouse--and a trophy--in recognition of their creative talents Tuesday. The fourth annual Disneyland Creativity Challenge Awards honored students for creative writing, speech, drama, dance, music and visual arts. Eleven students also received Disney medallions, signifying that they were the best of the six winners in their category.
February 21, 1989 |
Churchill's Black Dog, Kafka's Mice and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind by Anthony Storr (Grove Press: $19.95; 288 pages) The connection between creativity and madness has long been observed and brooded about. It's probably a matter of degree. People who are a little bit different from the mainstream are considered creative. People who are a lot different are considered crazy. But that explanation doesn't reach the heart of the matter.
August 5, 1989 |
Art is every child's first, and native, language. Early scribbles, done with pencil, ink or lipstick, are a lot like the babbles of baby talk. They are the first expressions of thoughts and feelings, and an early look, perhaps, at a little one's personality. And sometimes when words escape youngsters, visual expression does not.
March 14, 1989 |
Bob McMahon couldn't quite believe his ears. "Hello, Bob, this is George Harrison, the ex-Beatle," said the man with the British accent at the other end of the telephone. "I'd like you to do some work for me." Sure. Out of the blue, George Harrison calls some relatively obscure Los Angeles illustrator and ask him to design the cover to his new album. Well, it was, indeed, George Harrison.
June 1, 1989 |
Put 5-year-old Kurston Cook in front of a lump of clay and he might make a black widow spider or a caveman. Lately he's been making big, four-legged creatures. His fingers deftly roll out four chubby legs, a body and a long, serpentine neck. He shapes the head and uses a wood tool to form the eyes and a gaping mouth. Was there any special reason for the sculptures? "Because it's fun," Kurston answered while finishing his brontosaurus. "Because I like dinosaurs." Kurston, like many other students at Pacific Oaks College and Children's School in Pasadena, has had special art instruction since he was 2 in a program that introduces young children to clay, silk screen, painting, drawing and crafts.
February 17, 1994 |
The Dr. Dreadful Food Lab, one of the hot new "activity toys" on display here at this year's Toy Fair, provides all the ingredients a kid needs to cook up gourmet concoctions like Chewy Gummy Bugs, Tasty Monster Skins and Ants on a Log. Good fun, for sure, and appealing to what Tyco Toys calls the gross food craze. To the disappointment of some in the toy business, though, the creation of toys these days too often takes place in what might be called the Dr. Hollywood Hit Lab.
September 29, 1989 |
Why is it that Leonardo da Vinci could paint the Mona Lisa, while another person is barely able to draw a stick figure? What enabled Emily Dickinson, in only four years, to write nearly 1,800 poems, some of the most lyrical in the English language, while many people can barely piece together an office memo? And how is it that Albert Einstein could revolutionize the world of physics, when most people don't even know how their car radios work?