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CUT THE RIBBON, THE MERCURY SEVEN

Posted on April 8, 2013 by admin

Mercury Seven was the group of seven astronauts selected by NASA in 1959. The agency viewed the project as an experiment to determine whether humans could survive space travel. The seven men immediately cut the ribbon, becoming national heroes compared by civilians to Columbus or Magellanus. The Mercury Seven in fact embodyied the new spirit of space exploration, determining the orbit around the Earth and investigating on man’s ability to function in space.The space flight was a totally new experience for pilots, scientists and doctors. No one knew if a person flying in the weightlessness of space could accurately read a dial, if they could push the right button or lever. Because of the small space inside the Mercury spacecraft, candidates could be no taller than 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) and weigh no more than 180 pounds (82 kg). Other requirements included an age under 40, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, 1,500 hours of flying time, and qualification to fly jets. NASA chose what were considered superb physical specimen with a genius-level IQ and the ability to function well both as part of a team and solo. The Mercury Seven, selected by the space administration also carried America’s hopes into space against the Soviet Union and what at the time was the beginning of Cold War…

 

“…Came Forth and Once More Saw the Stars”.

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CUT THE RIBBON, GEORGES REMI – HERGé

Posted on February 25, 2013 by admin

In 1929, cartoonist Georges Remi, who used the pen name Hergé, cut the ribbon by creating The Adventures of Tintin. The successful series of cartoon strips, was at the very beginning supplement to the Belgian newspaper LE XX SIECLE. The hero is Tintin a young Belgian reporter aided by his faithful Milou, a fox terrier god. Later, the cast included Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, and Dupont and Dupont. Admired all over the world for its clean, expressive drawings, the strips had a variety of genres: adventurous, fantasy, humor, mystery, political satire, thriller and science fiction. After World War II, Hergé left his newspaper and accepted an invitation to continue The adventures of Tintin reaching the height of success in 1950, by creating Hergé Studios. Hergé died in 1983 leaving us his magnificent work and happiness, when asked who was to him Tintin he would answer: “Tintin is myself. He reflects the best and brightest in me; he is my successful double. I am not a hero. But like all 15-year-old boys, I dreamt of being one…and I have never stopped dreaming. Tintin has accomplished many things on my behalf.”

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CUT THE RIBBON, YAYOI KUSAMA

Posted on January 28, 2013 by admin

From rural Japan to technological NYC. She can paint, creates collage, makes sculpures, performances, environmental installations, book illustrations. She is the queen of dots, pois, or better she has cut the ribbon as first Japanese female psychedelic performer. Even though forgotten after leaving the early NYC’s pop scene in the 70’s, Yayoi Kusama is now widely acknowledged. Maybe one of Japan’s most important living artist and avant garde voice.Yayoi Kusama started creating art at an early age and became interested in the European and American avant garde.It was 1957 when she moved to the US, settling in NYC where she produced a series of paintings influenced by the abstract expressionist movement. Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde, having her works exhibited with the likes of Andy Warhol and embracing the rise of the early hippie movement of the late 60s.She, for instance, organised a series of Body Festivals in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. In 1973, Kusama moved back to her native Japan, where she found the art scene far more conservative than New York. There she became an art dealer and continued to produce artworks in a variety of mediums, as well as launching a literary career by publishing several novels, a poetry collection and an autobiography. I personally admire and adore her Alice in Wonderland’s illustrations. Kusama’s conceptual art shows feminism, minimalism, surrealism and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content.Her obsessiveness in repeating dot patterns seem to assert the desire to escape and the viewer of her obsessive vision of endless dots gets inprisoned in a maniac net, where the only thing to do is to be submerged. Nowadays Yayoi Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.

CUT THE RIBBON: GILDA RADNER

Posted on January 7, 2013 by admin

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
Gilda Susan Radner, was an American comedienne and actress, best known as one of the original ribbon cutter of NBC’s Saturday Night Live show, for which she won an Emmy Award in 1978. Radner started her broadcasting career as the weather girl for college radio station and later featured on the National Lampoon Radio Hour, a comedy program. During that time, fellow cast members included John Belushi, Richard Belzer, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Rhonda Coullet. Radner was a part of the freshman group on the first season of Saturday Night Live. She was the first performer between 1975 and 1980 and created characters like Roseanne Roseannadanna, Baba Wawa, a parody of Barbara Walters, and Emily Litella. Continue Reading →

GIVE US A ROPE FO’ SKIPPIN’ AND JUMPIN’ !

Posted on December 18, 2012 by admin

This is not a typical cut the ribbon as there’s not a real subject or inventor for this creation. But it’s always been charming, extremely earthy and totally youthful. Those wood handles with the alluring, strong leather amber-colored rope. The reddish cinnamon, those many skips those endless jumps. Whoever has been a kid has been skipping a rope, with friends, alone, at night, during the day. A lovely game, now a décor piece to most. No one knows who has invented the jump roping. Surely the Egyptians or the Chinese, somewhere around 1600b.c. . Egyptians would jump over vines, as a game. Rope skipping was taken to America by Dutch settlers during the 17th century and mainly performed by boys as the culture of the time did not encourage girls to be physically active. In the 19th century both boys and girls would play it as a game. Girls later invented different rhymes and rhythms and singing games for their popular activity. In the 40s and 50s, jump rope became tremendously popular, and many children in inner cities used it as a form of play as it only required a rope, and anyone could play. Basic jump with both feet and combination jumps and styles were practiced. Nowadays it’s a real sport and competition but we rather remember it as the rhymes would do: Raspberry, strawberry, apple jam tart! Tell me the name of your sweet sweet heart!

CUT THE RIBBON: MORRIS YOCK OR JOHN COWIE?

Posted on November 12, 2012 by admin

In New Zeland, two families have been locked in a dispute that started in the 50’s. Depending from where you come from, these casual footwear are called differently; flip-flops are a common type of footwear. They are a thin rubber sole with two straps running in a Y shape from the sides of the foot to the gap between the big toe and all the other toes. They are usually used at the beach or outdoor. In India and Pakistan are immensely popular and called Hawaii chappal. In Australia they are commonly known as Thongs, in New Zeland are Jandals, whilst in UK and the USA as Flip-flops. Whether you call them flip flops, thongs, slippers or slides, they are simple flat footwear of summer. But who invented them? The modern flip flop was perfected as New Zealand beachwear by Morris Yock, who filed for the patent in 1957. The footwear became instantly popular when flip flops were worn by the Australian Olympic swim team in 1956.  Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON: VIRGINIA OLDOINI, LA CASTIGLIONE

Posted on October 30, 2012 by admin

La Divine Comtesse! Long, wavy blonde hair, pale skin, delicate oval face, green and violet eyes. The Countess was known for her beauty and her flamboyant entrances with elaborate dresses at the French imperial court. Virginia Oldoini, (Queen of Hearts), Countess of Castiglione, better known as La Castiglione, was an Italian aristocrat who was sent by cousin Count of Cavour  on the very first mission to the French court of Napoleon III to plead with the emperor the Franco-Piedmontese alliance. La Castiglione’s skills and charm, prevailed over politics and surely made her a first ribbon cutter in many ways; maybe  embarrassing but useful for to Italian politics. The large presence of her seductive institutional cause, gave the expected results:in her luxuriously house in Paris, she was a ‘mondanissima’ and  official mistress of the Emperor Napoleon III, arousing envy, great scandal and the fury of the catholic Empress Eugenie. It was even said that the rivalry came to the point that, having been the emperor target of an attack in the house of the Countess in Rue Montaigne, everything had been orchestrated by the Empress itself to damage the opponent. The Countess significant  power, being aware of her beauty, ambition and intelligence made her a sharp shooter and rigorous instructions follower, considering her plead to the cause of Italian unity with Napoleon III of France. Her achieved notoriety and scandal led her Italian husband to demand a marital separation. The Countess returned to Italy in 1857 when her affair with Napoleon III was over. Four years later, the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, conceivably in part due to the influence that the Countess had exerted on France.  In her declining years, La Castiglione would spend her days in her Parisian apartment in Place Vendôme, where she had the rooms decorated in funereal black, the blinds kept drawn, and mirrors banished.  

She is buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. .

CUT THE RIBBON: RAYMOND STEGEMAN

Posted on September 20, 2012 by admin

The first man who invented wayfarer sunglasses was the optical designer Raymon Stegeman who broke from the past metal framed shades creating plastic glasses. It was 1952. The iconic trapezoid frame quickly became popular among Americans bringing to life the Wayfarer phenomenon through the 50’s and 60’s then gradually fading with the limelight of the 70’s. After a lucrative product placement, Wayfarer came back, again to popularity, in the 80’s, losing it again in the 90’s. The mid-2000s saw another come back and a redesign with smaller and lighter injected plastic frames. Since 1952, Wayfarer are considered an evergreen revival, an enduring fashion icon and a bestselling item all over the world.

Photo: Madonna Ciccone posing for “The First Album” cover.

 

CUT THE RIBBON

Posted on September 14, 2012 by admin

Cut The Ribbon is a new column by The Harlow that focuses on people premiering on something. Those who got an idea and put it in practice changing lives, maybe visions for the very first time. We tend to think that our contemporaries have invented it all, but it’s not always true, sometimes we are just using and re-inventing what the past has left us in heritage. You are welcome to discover who made it first, who invented what, who, in few words, Cut The Ribbon!