As I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade last week with my daughter, most of the attractions just passed me by, an endless queue of deservedly frozen smiles (marching for miles through the canyons of NYC in the dead of November is no picnic, folks), slick marching bands, Snoopy and the balloon gang for the umpteenth time, and a lot of badly lip-synched performances. But I have to say I was charmed by at least one of the new balloons: Keith Haring's "Figure with Heart," the familiar Haring-esque dancing man holding up a heart, which floated through the gray skies without a care in the world, looking way too sophisticated for a children's parade.
It made me remember Haring, the street art pioneer who died of AIDS in 1990, in his heyday, when his iconic graffiti figures, which transformed universal symbols into art that anyone could enjoy, first caught our fancy. That they still command our attention all these years later is telling. They worked, and that's why a new Haring balloon was floated down the streets of New York nearly twenty years after his death.
Time to catch up on what Keith Haring was all about? I should think so, and here's your opportunity. A digital presentation entitled The Universe Of Keith Haring kickstarts "Off the Wall," the December installment of the The Series at Starz FilmCenter. Filled with archival footage and interviews with Yoko Ono, Ann Magnuson, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Kenny Scharf, David LaChapelle and other luminaries of the Haring scene, the film screens at 7 p.m. tonight only. It's one of three documentaries on groundbreaking artists being featured this month -- the others being Beautiful Losers, the DIY culture classic, and Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight, a look at the celebrated graphic artist, which round out the series on December 10 and 17, respectively. Admission is $6 to $9.50 per film; for more information, click on this page of the Starz website or call 303-820-3456. -- Susan Froyd
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