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Stories by W.S. Di Piero

If You Don't Dig

A Medusa has moved into my neighborhood. I live in San Francisco, three blocks from Haight Street. I don’t go down there much because it’s sordid with shoe stores, out-of-towners, homeless folk, and all-purpose muckiness. ...

July 20, 2011
Welder at Work

Some clichés smell okay, others stink. Whenever I hear a California enthusiast hyperventilating about how the West Coast is culturally “cutting edge” and so “out there,” I remember that the last time David Smith (the ...

June 15, 2011
The Way We Were

The atrium at the Museum of Photographic Arts offers an essay on what we thought we were as a people during the ’50s and ’60s. Constellated images by several photographers tell us that, before anything ...

May 11, 2011
Flaunt It: Racy Women from Regal Times at SDMA

As a warm-up before you see the splashy Gainsborough exhibition running at the San Diego Museum of Art, make a pass at Fragonard’s late 1770s Blindman’s Buff in the Timken. In a vaguely bucolic setting, ...

April 13, 2011
Woodwork by Hodgkin

I’m sitting on a bench in the San Diego Museum of Art, which has just opened an exhibition by the British painter Howard Hodgkin. Pretty quiet here, only four other warm bodies, one of them ...

March 16, 2011
Floating World

When in 1853 Admiral Perry and what the Japanese called his “black fleet” (the ships were painted black and their coal-stoked engines puffed black smoke) sailed into Yokohoma Harbor, he couldn’t have known he’d be ...

February 16, 2011
Double Vision

When Henry Luce launched LIFE magazine in 1936, he was on a storytelling mission. He said he wanted to edit photographs “into a coherent story and harness the main stream of optical consciousness.” He wanted ...

January 19, 2011
The Lush Life of Toulouse-Lautrec

Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t frequent adult entertainment establishments. Not anymore. But whenever I drive from the airport to Balboa Park, while going up Laurel I sometimes give a friendly nod to Pure ...

November 10, 2010
Rock photography at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park

Not being a musician or performer, I have no idea what it’s like to be in a life that lurches from on-the-road lulls between gigs to the raw, over-the-top energy of performance. Like most of ...

September 8, 2010
Hero Worship

We usually think of the Greek gods as figures, as human embodiments, but to the Greek mind the gods were also, above all, states or conditions of being. Poseidon is god of the sea, yes, ...

July 14, 2010
States of Mind

Photography is a great dumping ground of sentimental clichés. Lovebirds, autumn leaves, maternity-ward prune-faces, sublime mountain streams, birthday antics... Fill in the list. Grand illusion-maker that it is, and connoisseur of the uncanny, photography is ...

May 5, 2010
Poet of Joy

By the 1880s, Renoir was well established and well to do. He’d already fought what he called les combats de l’impressionisme and triumphed as the impressionist with the most glamorous palette, the sunniest disposition, and ...

April 7, 2010
See For Yourself

Tough times, tightened belts, tighter budgets — from households and big industry to small businesses and major museums. No surprise that in a time of unstable markets, museums everywhere — threatened by leaner endowments, stiffer ...

March 24, 2010
Rembrandt All Over

In the late 1640s and 1650s, the Netherlands’ prosperous Golden Age dimmed. Hundreds of businesses failed, and a major recession enfeebled the entire society. Even Rembrandt, renowned and rich, hit a wall, partly of his ...

February 24, 2010
Claiming Space

A few years ago, when the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown converted the Santa Fe Depot’s old baggage-claim area, it did what museums all over the country have been doing in recent years, from remote, ...

January 28, 2010
Shooting the Moon

One of Ansel Adams’s most familiar and famous images, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, is the photographic equivalent of Aaron Copeland’s orchestral suite Appalachian Spring, John Ford’s movie Stagecoach, or Edward Hopper’s painting of a corner ...

July 8, 2009
Considered Beautiful

In 1810, a black Khoisan woman from South Africa named (by her slave-master) Saartjie Baartman was brought to London and became an entertainment sensation. Kept in a cage, she was exhibited seminude in sideshows and ...

February 26, 2009
How Many Words Is a Picture Worth?

Photographs and words have been doing their rather stiff box-step dance since the beginning. In the 1840s, Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the negative-to-positive process, published The Pencil of Nature, a collection of photographs accompanied ...

October 29, 2008
Vaporous Volumes

Asilk thread seams together the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the tarot, feminism, and Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer whose impresario activities in the early 20th Century promoted American modernism and the careers of Charles Demuth, ...

June 18, 2008
The Ghost Brought Inside the Flesh

I’ve seen every cut of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, and yet when I watched his new-absolutely-last-I-promise director’s cut, I’d never felt so pierced by the importance of photographs in the movie. The Terrell Corporation manufactures ...

May 12, 2008
Oversoul

When the painter Asher Durand first journeyed to New York as a teenager in 1817, from his rural home in Essex County, New Jersey, the city was a knockabout place of 10,000 souls — without ...

February 27, 2008
Hell-Bent Voracity

Why is it that the most intimate, mysterious performance photographs are of jazz musicians? Maybe because two things get exposed at once: the expressiveness of the body (Mingus knitting his brow, Charlie Parker sweating, Roy ...

February 20, 2008
Leica Spirit

During off hours while working as a clerk at the Budapest stock exchange before the outbreak of the Great War, the young André Kertész took photographs and began to nurse ambitions about making it his ...

February 6, 2008
Indigenous Material

A Mexican woman in traditional Indian garb, loose long hair swaying, strides past stone outcroppings toward the Sonora Desert, like a pilgrim or wanderer, except that she’s carrying what was called in 1979, when the ...

January 23, 2008
Southland Art

In the 1950s and 1960s, several Bay Area painters — David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and others — were working to revivify traditional figurative painting while juggling formal issues raised by Abstract Expressionism about ...

January 16, 2008
In Love with Two Daughters

I've been sleeping on a lumpy sofa for several days, and my back is on fire. The sofa isn't in my own house, a take-no-prisoners zone I return to only to collect fresh clothes, but ...

August 11, 2005
Rabbit of the Scorpions

San Francisco acupuncturist refers to any procedure requiring many needles as “The Full Frida Kahlo.” He assumes his patients are familiar with Kahlo’s self-portrait, Diego on My Mind, in which wiry tendrils radiate from her ...

June 29, 2000
29 Reader writers on their fathers

To commemorate Father's Day, this issue contains a collection of reflections from Reader writers about their fathers: The Last Tag Sale — Jeanne Schinto An Air of Exoticism — Duncan Shepherd Kinder Than I Would ...

June 15, 2000
Lost

Sometimes, when I hear or think I’m hearing the voices of the dead, they thrum in my head like hundreds of bees I once heard in a blossoming almond tree. Other times they are the ...

June 15, 2000

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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