“Celebrate Life”

As an overt and radical secular humanist, I also believe (to the point of exclusion) that, barring degradation and infirmity, we all have the autonomous ability to choose how we react to things. You would never hear me say “you made me feel this way or that way” because the agency for how I feel sits with me — a choice of free will (until someone convincingly demonstrates the ability for one mind to actually control the emotional state of another through some undisclosed psychic mechanism).

I will decide how I react, because it is always a choice under my control.

So given the choice about whether to celebrate life or mourn death? Well, take a guess.

Me, my mom, and my sister, in 2017.

Me, and my dad, in 2002.

My dad, me, and his uncle Salvatore, in 1959.

My dad and me in 1959.

My dad’s dad (Albert) and me, 1959.

Salvatore Coppola (1895-1982)
Albert Coppola (1904-1977)
Frank Coppola (1935-2009)
Shirley Coppola (1935-2017)
Brian Coppola (1957- … )


Christmas in China

I was quite surprised the first time I experienced the western (commercial) Christmas holiday traditions around China. Christmas songs at the stores… snowflakes and snowmen on the windows… Santa and the reindeer… special seasonal drinks at Starbucks… sales at the department stores and special deals for dinners.

The word ‘commercial’ is key. Christmas in China is a co-opted holiday – a Hallmark occasion. We do this too, all the time. The 17th Century feast of St. Patrick had quite little to do, one suspects, with green beer, shamrock shakes, and leprechauns. We do not treat it as a real holiday (time off, stores closed), and one wonders what the devout Irish might think of the peculiar revelry.

So, too, Christmas in China.

“Parental Consent”

“Parental Consent” (2007)
by Anthony (Royal Breed) Lister (1979-)
10 x 10 in, mixed media
Coppola Collection

Anthony Lister is an outspoken street artist from Australia known as “Brisbane’s Banksy.” In his earlier says, he was part of a art collaborative in Hong Kong called The Royal Breed. This piece is from the cusp time, between his association with Breed and his going solo. Some of his first solo gallery exhibits, ca. 2006-8, featured super-hero and cartoon themes.

2006: Saturday Morning Prime Time, Spectrum Galley, London UK
2007: Super is as Super Does, Metro5 Gallery, Melbourne Australia
2008: Quit Your Sobbing and Call Me in the Afternoon, New Image, Los Angeles USA

The comics theme and checkered history of the Comics Code Authority is what attracted me to this piece. I have a funny feeling that more than a few galleries might like to get their hands on this today.

“Uncanny X-Men 31 pp 13-15”

“Uncanny X-Men 31 vol 3; pp 13-14” (2015)
by Chris Bachalo (1965-)
and Tim Townsend (1970-)
11 x 17 in, ink on paper
Coppola Collection

“Uncanny X-Men 31 vol 3; p 15” (2015)
by Chris Bachalo (1965-)
and Jaime Mendoza ()
11 x 17 in, ink on paper
Coppola Collection

A lovely flashback to a classic X-Men setting featuring Rogue and Professor X, by the highly stylized and clean-line artist Chris Bachalo.


“The Sage”

“The Sage” (2017)
by Anna Toberman (1956-)
22 x 19 in., pastel on paper
Coppola Collection

From Anna:
Here is The Sage. Is he sitting near a campfire, extolling his wisdom? Is he acting out a scene from the Old Testament? Is he living on the street, wary of someone approaching? The underlighting and features of this gentleman captured my imagination.

“Winter Memory”

“Winter Memory” (2016)
by Anna Toberman (1956-)
12 x 12 in., oil on linen on panel
Coppola Collection

Anna is based in the Chicago area and works in oils, charcoal, pastel, conte and mixed media. She focuses on portraiture with an eye on representing the individuality of each person.

Looking at her work, I think the best portraits are probably the ones where the model was expressive and she captured it, and when the model is stiff… the work comes off a little stiff. My drawing teacher always said to look at the real life set-up for inspiration, and change what you needed to, to tell your story.

“Whittall Mills Advertisement”

“Whittall Mills Advertisement” (ca. 1910)
artist unknown
15 x 22 in., ink and wash on paper
Coppola Collection

Textiles and leather were economic cornerstones in New England’s industrialization. Worcester, Massachusetts, was a center of carpet manufacturing. The Crompton Rug Company built a small complex of structures, opening in 1870. Crompton went under in the 1879 Depression, and the space was leased and later re-opened in 1893 as the Worcester Carpet Company. Matthew Whittall, a British immigrant who had been a supervisor for Crompton, had opened his own factory in 1874. He returned to England, bought eight Crossley carpet looms, and brought them back to Worcester, along with a cousin and a group of Kidderminster carpet weavers, and established the Whittall Mills company in 1880. He grew his business and, by 1901, he was the philanthropic “lord of manor” in Worcester.

By WWI, the Whittall Mills had expanded to 500,000 square feet of space, containing 350 looms and employing 1500 skilled workers. The products Whittall produced were purchased by the federal government for use in its buildings, and were selected by President William McKinley for use in the White House.

The Whittall Company continued to manufacture carpets at this located until the company was sold in 1950.

The original art featured here was a blank shell of an advertisement whose text could be customized to the magazine in question. I have not located any information about the artist or exact date of this particular ad campaign.

And a quite comparable ad, reported to be from 1911:

Here is an ad from “The House Beautiful” (February 1921, p 142):